Eric Elwood’s Connacht side will bring the curtain down on their interest in the Amlin Challenge Cup for this season in the Sportsground on Saturday evening. Connacht will host Italian newcomers to the competition Cavalieri Prato in Galway and will be looking to pick up their second win in as many weeks in the competition. Last weekend Connacht travelled to France where they completed a double over French top 14 side Arivon Bayonnais in the competition, but it was too little to late to give the province a chance of progressing in a competition they got to the last four in last season. Connacht were also boosted this week with the news that Frank Murphy, Miah Nikora and Ronan Loughney had all signed two year extensions to their contracts which will boost Eric Elwood’s squad ahead of the start of next season.
There was further good news for Connacht with the news that three of the province’s players had been selected in Declan Kidney’s 32 man Ireland squad for the upcoming Six Nations. Fullback Gavin Duffy and hooker Sean Cronin will be joined in the Ireland squad for the first time by 29-year-old lock Mike McCarthy who has just made his 100th cap for the province last week. Connacht will take on Cavalieri Prato at 6pm on Saturday.
Junior Cup draw made
The draw for the 2011 Connacht Junior Cup was made earlier this week, with two Mayo sides going into the hat at the first round stage and the others given byes into the second round. In the first round Ballinrobe will host Gort at the Racecourse, while east Mayo side Ballyhaunis will be on the road to face border side Corrib. In the second round of the competition if Ballyhaunis manage to win they will take on fellow Mayo side Westport. While Ballinrobe if they get over their first round game, will have a home tie to either Connemara or Carrick. The second round has pitted Castlebar with a tough trip away to Monivea, while Ballina will travel to the winners of the clash between south Mayo sides Portumna and Ballinasloe.