Gilroy signs three-year Ulster extension
Rugby:Craig Gilroy’s memorable week continued today with the agreement of a three-year extension to his Ulster Rugby deal. The winger, who scored a hat-trick of tries in the Ireland A match against Fiji at Thomond Park on Saturday, is now contracted to the province until 2016.
“I am delighted that I will be playing my rugby at Ravenhill well into 2016,” he said today. “I am proud to play for my province - representing Ulster means a great deal to me. Things are going really well at the moment. We have had a good start to both the RaboDirect PRO12 and the Heineken Cup and it is great to be a part of. I am looking forward to helping Ulster be successful over the course of the rest of this season and the next three seasons.”
Ulster’s director of rugby David Humpreys added: “I am pleased that a player of the talent of Craig Gilroy has committed to Ulster for the long term. Craig is a product of the Ulster Academy and he fits with our ambition of creating a team of home-grown players capable of competing with the best in Europe.
“There is no doubt that he is an exceptional rugby player and his future both at provincial and international level is extremely bright.”
Connacht have announced 20-year-old Academy scrumhalf Kieran Marmion has committed to the province club until 2015. Marmion was born in Wales but his whose father hails from Loughrea, Co. Galway, and he has been capped at underage levels by Ireland.
Meanwhile, Malone backrow Conor Joyce has been called into the provisional Ulster squad ahead of Friday’s PRO12 game against Treviso (6.05pm). The Academy prospect has featured just once for the province thus far, in the 2011 St Stephen’s Day defeat to Leinster.
Otherwise the squad for the trip to the Stadio Di Monigo is unchanged from the one that narrowly defeated Zebre in Parma on Sunday.
Ireland prop Tom Court will remain with the squad after featuring in the 27-25 win, as will fellow frontrower Declan Fitzpatrick, both being surplus to requirements for Kidney ahead of the meeting with the Pumas on Saturday.
A late penalty try against Zebre saw Ulster maintain their unbeaten record this season against the league’s bottom side but the table-toppers will need to dig out another big result this week, having once again been denied a whole host of frontliners drafted into the international set-up this autumn.
Treviso are ninth, having lost their last four in all competitions since their 27-22 victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield on October 5th.
Forwards (14): Rob Herring, Nigel Brady, Callum Black, Declan Fitzpatrick, Tom Court, John Afoa, Neil McComb, James Simpson, Robbie Diack, Conor Joyce, Mike McComish, Ali Birch, Roger Wilson, Nick Williams.
Backs (10): Michael Heaney, Blane McIlroy, Niall O’Connor, Stuart Olding, Paddy Wallace, Jared Payne, Michael Allen, Chris Cochrane, Ricky Andrew, Peter Nelson.