Retired professionals team up to launch new rugby talent management agency

Conor O’Loughlin and Keith Matthews launch new rugby talent management agency, Core Sports. Photo: Reg Gordon

Conor O’Loughlin and Keith Matthews launch new rugby talent management agency, Core Sports. Photo: Reg Gordon

Two ex-Connacht Rugby teammates, Conor O’Loughlin and Keith Matthews, have teamed up to form Core Sports Management - a bespoke rugby talent agency offering an array of services to its players that span far beyond just contract negotiations.

With almost 200 provincial professional caps between them, both players - who had the foresight to combine professional rugby careers with third level study - decided to take the entrepreneurial leap into a familiar field in which they saw a massive niche.

O’Loughlin says, “Throughout our rugby careers, we would often have come across players who were unhappy with their agents whom they might only hear from at contract renewal time. In addition they felt that this was the only service that their agents were providing.”

Matthews continues, “As former professional rugby players, we know what opportunities present to players and what guidance is necessary throughout the entire season not just at the contract renewal stage. Therefore, we have set up this business with the intention of providing a comprehensive service to our players spanning from contract negotiation to sponsorships and financial planning.”

Core Sports Management’s focus is to ensure that their clients can concentrate solely on playing rugby and take comfort in the knowing that everything off the field is being looked after. They are committed to offering a highly professional service, integrity, and quality of advice to their clients. The company’s focus is not only on developed players but also upcoming young talent as the duo feel that their advice and support is suited to both those already familiar with the professional rugby scene and those coming into it.

Both O’Loughlin and Matthews boast the experience and qualifications to be offering such advice. O’Loughlin played professionally with Connacht for eight years - with 98 caps along with an Ireland A cap - before being forced to retire through injury in 2011. He holds a degree in business information systems from NUIG and a masters of finance from the Smurfit School of Business. In addition, he is a CFA level 3 candidate and was an executive board member of IRUPA for three years during his playing career.

Matthews commenced his professional playing career with Munster Rugby before joining Connacht for seven years attaining 100 caps for the province and nine Ireland A caps before, retiring due to injury in 2012. Matthews holds an honours Bachelor of engineering degree from UL and is also a qualified financial advisor having successfully completing his QFA exams in tandem with his rugby career in 2009.

With an already promising portfolio of young progressive players, Core Sports Management will be one to watch on the corporate rugby scene.

For more information on Core Sports Management, log on to


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