Connacht have confirmed that long-serving prop Ronan Loughney will finish with the province at the end of the current season. Danie Poolman, John Cooney, Nepia Fox-Matamua, Daniel Qualter, Rory Parata, Shane O’Leary, Lewis Stevenson, Rory Moloney, Josh Rowland and Ivan Soroka are among those also departing the Sportsground in the summer
Ronan Loughney has been with Connacht for 12 seasons as a professional player. The 32-year-old loosehead from Galway was a member of the first Academy squad assembled in the province and went on to play 191 games across the PRO12 and Europe competitions.
Having represented Ireland at Youths, Under-19 and Under-21 levels, Loughney earned his one and only Ireland senior cap away to New Zealand in the summer of 2012.
Reflecting on his Connacht career, he said: “I have had an amazing time with Connacht and am grateful to have had the opportunity to represent my home province on so many occasions. The last 12 years have been a dream come true and I am incredibly proud of what Connacht have achieved.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the great team-mates, coaches, management and staff that I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. I’ve had the honour of playing alongside a remarkable group of players who have also become close friends.
“I would also like to thank our wonderful supporters who have stood by us through thick and thin and have made the Sportsground the fortress it is today. Thanks for your incredible support down through the years. I am excited for the future and the next challenge. And will forever cherish my time with this great team.”
Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane added: “On behalf of everyone in the Connacht Rugby organisation and around the province, I would like to thank and pay tribute to each individual that will depart the squad at the end of the season. Some guys have been here longer than others and have played in more games but we are grateful for the commitment and hard work put in by every individual in the squad throughout the year.
“It would be hard not to give a special mention to ‘Locks’ (Ronan Loughney) who has given so much to Connacht Rugby over the years. He epitomises the core values of not only Connacht but also rugby. He is a credit to his family and to the west of Ireland and he will be sorely missed around the Sportsground.
“I know that he is hugely proud of the province and he should be so proud of his own contribution to all that is good about Connacht Rugby. We recognise and value the role all these men have played and we will celebrate it together with our supporters at the game (at home to the Scarlets) on Saturday.”