Munster Rugby and the IRFU have confirmed that Chris Cloete, James Cronin, Neil Cronin, Chris Farrell and Tommy O’Donnell have all signed contract extensions, while scrum half Nick McCarthy is set to join the province.
Additionally, Greencore Munster Academy players Gavin Coombes and Shane Daly, who is an Ireland Sevens international, will join the Munster senior ranks next season.
Chris Farrell, who joined the province at the beginning of the 2017/18 season, has put pen to paper on a three-year deal that will see him remain with the province until 2022, while Chris Cloete has added two years onto his current three-year deal bringing him up to 2022 also.
Tommy O’Donnell, James Cronin and Neil Cronin, a Heineken Champions Cup debutant last Saturday in Exeter, have all signed two-year contract extensions until June 2021.
Scrum half Nick McCarthy will make the move from Leinster at the start of the 2019/20 season after signing a two-year deal with Munster. The 23-year-old has made 30 appearances in blue to date, scoring three tries. A former Ireland Under-20 international, he made 18 appearances over two U-20 Six Nations and World Rugby U-20 Championship campaigns.
Farrell, who has yet to feature this season as he rehabs a knee injury sustained in February, has made 13 appearances for the province, scoring three tries. The 25-year-old centre has represented Ireland on three occasions, including a man-of-the-match performance on his Six Nations debut against Wales.
In his 12th season with the province, and one of the squad’s leading lights, O’Donnell has made 162 appearances in red, scoring 19 tries. A former Academy Player of the Year and Player of the Year, he led Munster to victory in their historic win over the Maori All Blacks in November 2016. The 31-year-old back rower has represented Ireland on 12 occasions, scoring two tries.
On making his debut in April 2013, prop James Cronin went on to be selected as the Academy Player of the Year a month later. The 27-year-old has scored 14 tries across his 108 Munster caps, and has made three appearances for Ireland. Last November he represented the Barbarians against Tonga in Thomond Park.
Scrum half Neil Cronin made his return to professional rugby at the start of the season off the back of impressive performances with his club side Garryowen in the All-Ireland League. The 25-year-old, who has seven Munster caps to date, will have to put the teaching career on further hold as he continues with the province until 2021.
Making his debut against the Dragons last November, South African back rower Cloete made quite an impression in his first season, scoring three tries in his 10 starts. The 27-year-old has made 14 appearances for the province.
On the Academy front, Coombes and Daly, who are both in their final year of the programme, have secured promotion to the senior squad at the beginning of the 2019/20 season having signed two-year contracts.
The 20-year-old Coombes is a product of Skibbereen RFC and Bandon Grammar School and made his Munster debut against the Toyota Cheetahs in last month’s season opener. The number 8 has scored six tries in 16 appearances for Munster ‘A’, and plays with Young Munster in the All Ireland League. An Interprovincial title winner with Munster at Under-18 Schools and Under-19 level, Coombes has represented Ireland U-19s and U-20s.
A product of Highfield RFC, Presentation Brothers College and Cork Constitution FC, the 21-year-old Daly also made his senior Munster debut against the Cheetahs last month. The former Ireland U-20 international won the All-Ireland League Division 1A title, the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup and the Bateman Cup with Con in 2017. Adept at playing as a centre or on the wing, Daly won an Interpro title with the Munster U-20s in 2015.