The Connacht Player of the Month award for February, in association with Hartmanns Jewellers and Tag Heuer watches, has been won by in-form flanker Willie Faloon.
Willie Faloon was identified by Connacht Rugby as the stand-out player for February having just returned from a long-term injury.
The flanker played in all three of the province’s games during the month, which included both the home win over the Ospreys and the victory away to the Cardiff Blues – Connacht’s first triumph in the Welsh capital since 2001.
Faloon registered his first try for the province during the 22-10 victory over defending champions the Ospreys, his performance earning him the man-of-the-match award. A week later, the 26-year-old crossed twice against the Blues.
The 6ft, 104kg back rower joined Connacht from his home province Ulster and since his arrival last summer he has racked up 16 appearances.
He recently signed a contract extension which will see him play at the Sportsground until at least the summer of 2014.
Voted Ulster Academy Player of the Year in 2009, Faloon won the AIB All-Ireland Cup with his native Ballynahinch and went on to earn his first Heineken Cup cap for Ulster against Bath in the same year.
With Ulster, he built a reputation as an abrasive ball carrier and he has certainly brought that form with him to Connacht this season. A genuine openside flanker, his work-rate across the pitch has been phenomenal this season.
Speaking about February’s winner, Connacht assistant coach Dan McFarland said: “Willie has had an excellent month not only in the way he has played, but also in coming back from a tough injury.
“He will have been delighted with the tries but as a coaching team we also saw the major impact he made all over the field.”
Faloon himself commented: “I’m delighted to have won the Player of the Month award for February. After getting injured it was just brilliant to come back in last month.
“Those wins against the Ospreys and Cardiff were great and I’m really glad I could make a contribution. We focused on a couple of certain aspects and it was good to get them right. We hadn’t won on Welsh soil for a long time so that victory in Cardiff was important.
“We’ve won five of our seven games since the New Year so hopefully we can back that up with some more wins in the next couple of weeks and improve again on last year’s finish.
“I am loving my time in Galway so far and am really looking forward to continuing my rugby with Connacht. There is a real hunger and desire at Connacht and it is very easy to play for a team who are hungry and want to play better.”
Richard Hartmann, director of Hartmann Jewellers, said: “We’d like to congratulate Willie on his Player of the Month award for February. It was a great month for Connacht Rugby and a very enjoyable one for all supporters with wins against the Blues and defending champions the Ospreys.
“Willie was a key player during the month and scoring a hat-trick of tries over those two games was a fantastic achievement.
“We look forward to more exciting rugby from the young forward and wish him all the best with Connacht for at least the next couple of years.”
Hartmanns of Galway are the only store in the west of Ireland where you will find top Swiss watches such as Rolex, Tag Heuer and Omega.
They are exclusive agents for designer jewellery brands such as Hearts on Fire, Marco Bicego and Fope. They are also stockists of top silver brands Ti Sento and Links of London.