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Five Ulster Youngsters Sign New Development Deals

Five Ulster Youngsters Sign New Development Deals

Versatile Holywood-born forward Harry Sheridan runs out at Kingspan Stadium ahead of Ulster's BKT United Rugby Championship game against the DHL Stormers in January ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Harry Sheridan, Conor McKee, James McCormick, Reuben Crothers and Ben Carson will all continue their development with Ulster Rugby.

The 21-year-old Sheridan, who can play at lock or flanker, burst onto the scene during a tough period in Ulster’s season.

The powerful Dublin University forward has signed a new one-year Development contract, which will be followed by a one-year senior deal, keeping him with the province until at least 2025.

Sheridan made his senior debut from the bench against La Rochelle in the Heineken Champions Cup this January, and was rewarded for his impact with a start against the DHL Stormers in front of a home crowd at Kingspan Stadium later that month.

The County Down native scored his first try for Ulster against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium in round 14 of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

Meanwhile, scrum half McKee joins Sheridan in committing his future to Ulster in a deal which also sees him put pen to paper on a one-year Development contract, backed-up by a guaranteed year in the senior set-up.

McKee has been getting game-time at his club Ballynahinch in Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A, and has received recognition for his running and kicking game.

Ulster Rugby is also investing further in local talent in its player pathway with a further three Development contracts.

Hooker McCormick has signed a new one-year Development deal as he continues to progress in his playing career.

The 21-year-old plays for City of Armagh RFC at club level, and was a constant in the Ireland Under-20 team that won the U-20 Six Nations Grand Slam last season.

Back rower Crothers has also agreed a Development contract to keep him at the province. A natural leader, Crothers captained last year’s Ireland Under-20s to Grand Slam glory.

With many impressed by his strong work ethic and defensive skills, Crothers plays his club rugby for Ballynahinch alongside Ulster Academy colleague McKee.

Finalising today’s Development contracts is the 21-year-old Carson who was also part of the Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam-winning team in 2022.

The strong-running centre plays his club rugby with Banbridge RFC, and will continue his development within the Ulster pathway in the year ahead.

Speaking about the new contracts, head coach Dan McFarland said that the province’s track record in giving promising players opportunities makes Ulster Rugby an attractive place to develop.

“It’s encouraging to build on the number of players in our senior Men’s team who have progressed through our player pathway, and it’s great motivation for Harry, Conor, James, Reuben and Ben who are hungry to learn,” he said.

Harry is a great example of a player that was knocking on the door, and when he got an opportunity with the senior side, he really took his chance.

“I’m excited to see all of these young men continue to develop their talents with Ulster Rugby, and it bodes well for the next generation of homegrown talent.”