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New Ulster Deals Announced For Gilroy And Timoney

New Ulster Deals Announced For Gilroy And Timoney

Ireland international Craig Gilroy and Abbey Insurance Ulster Academy back rower Nick Timoney have both put pen to paper on extended deals at Ulster.

Craig Gilroy – a two-try man-of-the-match against the Southern Kings last Friday – has agreed a contract extension that will keep him at the province until 2021, while Nick Timoney has been rewarded with a senior contract.

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Gilroy was a two-time Ulster Schools Cup winner with Methodist College, before developing his game on the club scene with Bangor RFC and Dungannon RFC.

He burst into the professional arena as an Ulster Academy player in the 2010/11 season, scoring eight league tries. He has since become the youngest Ulster player to reach the 100 and 150-cap milestones and he has scored 57 tries in his 158 appearances to date.

The 26-year-old has been in particularly impressive form this term, with nine tries in nine appearances so far. He marked his Ireland debut with a try against Argentina in November 2012 and has scored five tries in 10 international outings, including a hat-trick in his last outing against Italy in the 2017 Six Nations.

On signing the new deal, Gilroy commented: “As a young rugby player growing up supporting Ulster, it was a tremendous honour to represent this province. There’s no better feeling than running out at Kingspan Stadium and scoring tries for Ulster so I am delighted to agree a long-term deal to stay here, with hopefully my best rugby years to look forward to.”

Timoney, a former Ireland Under-20 and Sevens international, joined the Ulster Academy in 2015. Like Gilroy, the Dublin native won two provincial Schools Cup titles during his time at Blackrock College, including a 2014 success as captain.

He made his Ulster senior debut against Cardiff Blues in April 2017 and earned two more caps at the tail-end of last season, then stormed into the 2017/18 campaign with a brace of tries in a man-of-the-match display against the Dragons. The 22-year-old has made 12 appearances so far this season.

“It’s been a really exciting time for me recently, between getting to play regularly and now moving up to a full contract,” said Timoney. “I feel like I have fitted in well here at Ulster and I want to keep progressing and be a real asset to the team.”

Commenting on the announcement of the contract extensions, Ulster’s operations director Bryn Cunningham said: “Both Craig and Nick are quality young players who have been in fantastic form this season, and I’m delighted that they are both committed to being a part of our future plans.

“It has been evident for a long time just how good Craig is, and for him to rack up over 150 appearances for Ulster by the age of 26 is quite remarkable. Like us, I’m sure our supporters are very excited that he will be continuing to pull on the Ulster jersey with his peak years still ahead of him.

“Nick has blistering pace for a back row player and has a tremendous work ethic. He has really enhanced his skills since he entered our Academy and he has shown that he is more than capable of playing at PRO14 and Champions Cup level. We’re hugely excited to see how he continues to improve.”