Emotions run high as Connacht celebrate

Pat Lam - coach: "I knew it was going to be a challenge, a different style. I know people mentioned old dogs don't learn new tricks, that's wrong, I'm old too and I'm learning right through and I am excited about where I might be in five years' time."

John Muldoon - captain: "Irish teams and provinces have been so successful in the last decade or so, I have been jealous. I looked on in envy. I have been through some tough days in the past, but all of those who go onto that pitch, we know what got us here all year."

Tim Allnutt - former player, captain and now manager:

The trip to Siberia was all about mental strength. Despite all the adversity and the delays, the way everyone reacted to it showed there was great mental strength, and this season was about being mentally strong

"The arrival into Murrayfield was the experience of a lifetime. Coming around the bend in the bus preceded by the pipe band, you could see people, but then, OMG, there were thousands everywhere. Walking off that bus was very emotional - it made for a special day.

"This is my 17th season with Connacht. Last season I felt there was something really special building, and afer missing out on Champions Cup rugby you could feel the hunger in the squad when they reassembled this season. There were few new faces, it was the third season under Pat, the skill level was continually improving, the World Cup was a factor, and I felt it was going to be a good season."

Ronan Loughney -prop: There are a few people you think of in Connacht rugby down through the years - Eric Elwood, and different people, but Mul is an incredible precedes and seems to be gettingg better as he gets older, massive difference when he's on the pitch, all the lads want to do it for themselves, but all delighted he is leading us."

Pat Lam: I named three captains [when I arrived] because I didn't really know the guys. I just knew John Muldoon, Gavin Duffy, and Michael Swift had been massive contributors, the most games and caps. As I spent more and more time here I quickly recognised this is the Connacht man [John[, the one, the chosen one to lead the group."

Dave Heffernan - hooker: "I was a supporter of Connacht when I was younger for years and I never, never, never expected something like this. It’s absolutely incredible. We want to go back-to-back and defend our trophy."

Tiernan O'Halloran - fullback: "To win the Pro 12 after where we have come from and what we have done in the past is a dream come true. I suppose to see the crowd sums it all up for us."

James Connolly - flanker:

"There was nothing lucky, or just on the day, this is what we do week in week out and it paid off."

Martin Joyce - kit manager: "Everything has changed. I remember driving in the gate the first time and thinking it looked like an AIL club.

Jimmy Duffy - forwards coach: “The young fellas coming through were a bunch of really talented players, so it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when.”

Ultan Dillane - lock: " Blown away with the support from everyone. It's been a long time coming, and we are just proud as punch really. There was a confidence building. Glasgow once was something, but to beat them the second time, it gave us the confidence that we needed."


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