Sligo’s Cillian Gallagher and Conan O’Donnell have both signed senior professional
contracts with Connacht and the IRFU for next season. The former Irish U20 internationals’
rise through the ranks closely reflects the impressive growth of the game in Sligo.
Conan O’Donnell made his debut for the Connacht senior side in the PRO12 winning season
in 2016. He has since gone on to make a total of nine senior appearances in his three years in
the academy system.
It was only last December that Sligo native and then Academy player Cillian ‘Crouchy’
Gallagher was handed his first start for Connacht. Cillian, a former Summerhill College
student, started playing rugby with Sligo RFC U-14s and continued up to senior level. He
was first selected for Connacht for the U-15 development squad and then for the U-16 and U-
17 squads, however it wasn’t till he was at the U-18 level that he started to seriously focus on
rugby and managed to secure a place in the Connacht sub academy. The former Ireland U-20
captain had made his Connacht debut off the bench in the Challenge Cup win over Worcester
in October 2017.