Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have announced that JP Cooney, Shane Delahunt, Steve Crosbie and Tom Farrell have all signed new contracts for the 2017/18 season.
With five seasons at the Sportsground under his belt, 27-year-old prop JP Cooney, who can play on both sides of the scrum, has further extended his stay. The Tipperary man featured in 22 games for the province this season and made his 50th appearance against Munster at Thomond Park earlier this month.
Shane Delahunt made 11 appearances in his debut season as a member of the senior squad and started in the highly competitive number 2 jersey on four occasions. The 24-year-old, who graduated from the Connacht Academy last summer, now has 27 caps to his name. A former Kilkenny College captain, Delahunt represented Ireland at Under-20 level in 2014.
24-year-old out-half Steve Crosbie, who can also play in midfield, joined Connacht in January of this year, following a short stint with Munster. The former Ireland Under-20 player has featured in three PRO12 games for Connacht this year and kicked 17 points – six from six – in April’s 22-19 win away to Edinburgh.
Connacht have further boosted their midfield options with the contract extension of 23-year-old Tom Farrell. The former Bedford Blues player also joined the province in early 2017 and has made nine appearances since his arrival. Farrell has represented Ireland at Under-19 and Under-20 levels.
Commenting on the latest contract news, Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane said: “Our squad is taking shape for next season and we’re delighted with the level of retention in the senior ranks. To have continuity up front in the shape of JP and Shane is a great boost.
“We are excited by what Steve and Tom can add to the squad having only joined us earlier in the year. Recruitment remains ongoing as we look to finalise the make-up of our squad for next season.”
Connacht have also confirmed that senior players Conor Carey, Dominic Robertson-McCoy and Stacey Ili have had the second year on their current contracts activated and will remain at the Sportsground for the 2017/18 season.
Meanwhile, TG4 have announced that the station will broadcast the Northampton Saints v Connacht Champions Cup play-off match live from Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 4pm).