Connacht may be struggling in the RaboDirect PRO12 but winger Tiernan O’Halloran is leading a homegrown trio focussed on turning the ship around.
The 20-year-old, along with his Galway-born teammates Eoin Griffin and Eoin McKeon, have been chomping at the bit for opportunities and found this season to be a real stepping stone.
All three have recently signed new contracts but O’Halloran admits the departure of Fionn Carr to European champions Leinster at the start of the campaign was a chance he had to take.
Now a regular in Eric Elwood’s side, the ambitious Ireland under-20 international has his eyes set on further international honours after ending the Irish province’s ten-game RaboDirect PRO12 losing run with a 13-13 draw against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday.
“Last season I struggled a bit from injury but I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough this season,” said O’Halloran.
“Fionn [Carr] leaving has opened up an opportunity for me, I’ve realised that and I’ve tried to grab it with both hands and not looked back.
“Hopefully I can keep consistent with my performances at the moment, score a few more tries by the end of the season and hopefully next season get a call up to Ireland Wolfhounds and see where it goes from there.
“Galway is where we’re from, it’s massive for myself, Eoin Griffin and Eoin McKeon and we’re all taking that opportunity and we love it.
“We’re all signed on for another two years, so it’s great to have that and it’s great to see Eric [Elwood] putting his faith in the youth that is here.”