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Moloney Loving Academy Life Out West

Moloney Loving Academy Life Out West

From settling into the Connacht Academy to playing Ulster Bank League and British & Irish Cup rugby, it has already been a busy season for Rory Moloney who could make his Ireland Under-20 debut against Scotland on Friday night.

One of three Connacht Academy members in the Irish U-20 panel, Rory Moloney is hoping to be sprung from the bench at some stage during the Championship opener.

The fact that the Scotland match is at Dubarry Park, the home ground of his club Buccaneers RFC, just adds to the occasion for the talented 19-year-old back rower.

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“I’m really happy to be included in the Ireland Under-20 squad and to be there with the other Connacht lads as well. I hope to get on the starting team and if I can do that, I hope to play well through the Six Nations,” said Moloney.

An abrasive openside flanker, he was offered a contract by Connacht Academy manager Nigel Carolan last summer.

Hailing from Abbeyleix in Laois, Moloney was a member of the Cistercian College Roscrea team that was narrowly beaten by eventual winners Blackrock College in the semi-final of the Leinster Senior Schools Cup last year.

He featured on various underage teams for Leinster and Connacht and also represented Ireland at Under-18 Schools level for the last two years.

Just last month, Moloney was selected to captain the Ireland Under-19 team against Australia Schools at Ravenhill.

At province level this season he has played a pivotal role for Connacht Eagles in the British & Irish Cup, most recently in the 12-10 home win over Llanelli two weeks ago.

Moloney balances rugby with his studies in NUIG where he is a first year Commerce student.

Commenting on the transition into the Connacht Academy ranks, he admitted: “There’s definitely a step up coming from schools rugby into this professional set-up. Playing with bigger players, it’s very physical and there’s a big step up in skill level.

“Training altogether means there’s not a huge difference between the Academy and the senior squad. You feel you could get your chance any minute so you really have to give it your all in training and make each day count.

“A few of the Academy lads, like Jack (Carty), Darragh (Leader) and Eoghan Masterson, have gone through to the Connacht senior team this season and that’s really encouraging for us all in the Academy. It comes down to how much you want it and how hard you work for it.”