Connacht planning a fitting curtain call to mark Gavin Duffy’s final home game
Cardiff game is last home outing for Gavin Duffy, Eoin Griffin, Dan Parks and Frank Murphy
Gavin Duffy: has given distinguished service to Connacht during his career. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
The occasion promises a poignancy that will celebrate the final home game in the Connacht career of Gavin Duffy.
Few can match the contribution he’s made – Harlequins hiatus notwithstanding – in representing the province with great distinction.
The former Mayo minor footballer, who learnt his rugby at Cistercian College, Roscrea and represented Ireland at underage level right through to Sevens, Wolfhounds and the 10 caps in which he wore the green jersey at senior level, retires at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old is not the only player bidding farewell to the province as Eoin Griffin, Frank Murphy and Dan Parks, who have served Connacht with distinction too, are also moving on. There is no doubt that their erstwhile team-mates and the supporters would like to guarantee them a fitting curtain call.
But it’s going to be a difficult assignment. The home side have lost their last three league matches on the bounce while today’s visitors, the Cardiff Blues, have won their last three in succession.
The Welsh side will be without Munster-bound, Wexford native Robin Copeland, who is serving a two-week suspension for a red card he received against the Scarlets.
They will, however, have a high-quality Lions trio to call upon in the form of Alex Cuthbert, Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees.
Connacht coach Pat Lam makes one change to the team from the last day with Aly Muldowney taking over from Andrew Browne alongside Mick Kearney in the secondrow.
Lam admitted: “There is of course a lot of emotion attached to this game and it’s the last time a lot of guys will get the chance to play in front of the home crowd.
“It’s a great opportunity for us all to acknowledge the contribution of these true Connacht servants.
“As a team, we’ve spoken a lot this week about channelling all that emotion into doing our jobs well and putting ourselves in a position to finish where no Connacht team has finished before.”