Leinster players sign new contracts – but Rob Kearney still holding out

Most-decorated Irish rugby player will not settle for less than a national deal from IRFU

Rob Kearney at Leinster Rugby Squad Training in   UCD, Dublin on Monday.  Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Rob Kearney at Leinster Rugby Squad Training in UCD, Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Rob Kearney remains the only Leinster player out of contract next season. The most-decorated Irish rugby player – two Grand Slams, four European titles and a test Lion – remains in negotiations with the IRFU for a national deal.

The Irish Times understands that Kearney will not drop down to a Leinster contract. If talks break down with IRFU performance director David Nucifora, the 33-year-old fullback could join a club in France, England or even Japan.

Nucifora has re-signed Cian Healy for two more years, but Seán O’Brien opted to leave Leinster when the national extension he was offered fell some way short of the money (close to €600,000 a season) London Irish are willing to pay.

“There has been some difficult times over the last few years for me personally with injury, but the support within the Leinster and the Irish rugby family was very humbling from fellow players, coaches and supporters, and it’s something that I won’t forget,” said Healy. “It made this decision all the easier knowing that I was part of something bigger than just a rugby team.”

As it stands, six more players follow O’Brien out the door. Tom Daly’s loan deal to Connacht has been firmed up, with Cian Kelleher coming home from Galway. Nick McCarthy joins Munster, Jack McGrath moves to Belfast, Leicester have signed Noel Reid, while it is unclear what Ian Nagle and Mick Kearney will do next.

Kelleher’s hooker sibling Rónan has been promoted from the Academy ranks along with Scott Penny, Hugh O’Sullivan, Ciarán Frawley, Hugo Keenan, Conor O’Brien and Jimmy O’Brien.

All seven players represented Leinster this season and can expect further exposure during the World Cup.

In total Leinster handed over 21 contracts for next season,including the astute business of keeping Australian international Scott Fardy in Dublin.

Leinster Rugby – New Senior Contracts 2019/20:
1. Bryan Byrne, 41 Leinster Caps (LC), 12 Leinster Tries (T)
2. Jack Conan, 14 Ireland Caps (IC), 88 LC, 21 T
3. Max Deegan, 45 LC, 11 T 
4. Scott Fardy, 39 Australia Caps, 43 LC, 9 T 
5. Ciarán Frawley, 14 LC, 1 T 
6. Jamison Gibson-Park, 70 LC, 15 T
7. Cian Healy, 2 British & Irish Lions Caps (BIL), 88 IC, 2017 LC, 22 T
8. Robbie Henshaw, 4 BIL, 37 IC, 36 LC, 7 T
9. Dave Kearney, 17 IC, 136 LC, 29 T 
10. Hugo Keenan, 5 LC, 1 T 
11. Cian Kelleher, 7 LC, 1 T 
12. Rónan Kelleher, 2 LC 
13. Dan Leavy, 11 IC, 63 LC, 16 T
14. Fergus McFadden, 34 IC, 178 LC, 27 T
15. Luke McGrath, 10 IC, 112 LC, 29 T 
16. Josh Murphy, 21 LC, 1 T 
17. Conor O’Brien, 17 LC, 6 T 
18. Jimmy O’Brien, 7 LC, 3 T 
19. Hugh O’Sullivan, 14 LC 
20. Scott Penny, 6 LC, 2 T 
21. Johnny Sexton, 14 BIL, 83 IC, 159 LC, 25 T

Academy Players Promoted to Senior Squad:
1. Ciarán Frawley 
2. Hugo Keenan
3. Rónan Kelleher
4. Conor O’Brien
5. Jimmy O’Brien
6. Hugh O’Sullivan
7. Scott Penny

Leinster Rugby – Departees 2018/19:
1. Tom Daly, 12 LC, 2 T 
2. Mick Kearney, 51 LC, 1 T 
3. Nick McCarthy, 35 LC, 4 T 
4. Jack McGrath, 7 BIL, 54 IC, 145 LC, 12 T 
5. Ian Nagle, 19 LC
6. Seán O’Brien, 11 BIL, 56 IC, 126 LC, 20 T 
7. Noel Reid, 1 IC, 121 LC, 17 Tries    

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.