Former Garbally players Colm Reilly and Conor Kenny are set to make their first starts for Connacht against the Scarlets this weekend. Last time out in Edinburgh, the 21-year-old scrum-half Reilly came off the bench. Now, Andy Friend gives him the nod to start this time around.
Kenny meanwhile has made 7 appearances as a replacement since making his debut at the start of last season. The tighthead prop starts for the first time alongside Shane Delahunt and Paddy McAllister who also enjoys his first start of the campaign.
Kenny is another product of the Connacht grassroots system, having played for Buccaneers RFC and Garbally College where he won a Connacht Schools Cup.
Reilly was a part of the Ireland U-20 team that won a 6 Nations Grand Slam in 2019. The young ball-slinger made four appearances in that famous win. Furthermore, he scored an excellent solo try against Wales in the title-clinching finale.
Connacht rewarded Reilly with his first professional contract in June of this year after coming through the academy. With a selection of top scrum-halves already in Connacht, Reilly is learning from the best.
Previously, he came on against Edinburgh for the closing eight minutes. Connacht won that game comfortably in the end, making it a memorable debut for Reilly.
In 2018, Reilly was a key member of the Garbally team that won the Connacht Senior Cup. In fact, he scored a try in that 45-26 win over Coláiste Iognáid.
The Ballinasloe college is the most successful team in that tournament with a proud rugby history. Reilly joins an impressive list of alumni to go on and play rugby at the top level including Tiernan O’Hallaran, Ciaran Fitzgerald, Noel Mannion, Ray McLoughlin, Johnny O’Connor, Tiernan O’Halloran & Willie Ruane the current CEO of Connacht Rugby.
Reilly’s father Stephen is a former principal of the distinguished secondary school. Hence, the Ballinasloe native’s debut is even more reason to be proud.
Having also played rugby for Ballinasloe, Reilly will have a large support group watching on when he takes to the field this weekend.
With Kieran Marmion also available to Connacht this weekend, Colm Reilly will start the game before making way for the Ireland international.
Well done Colm from all in Garbally.
— Garbally College (@CGarbally) October 26, 2020
Watch Colm introduce himself here: https://fb.watch/1IR17dDv30/
Commenting ahead of the game, Head Coach Andy Friend said:
“While having two postponed games was disappointing, we’ve made sure to take a positive approach to the situation. We’ve had a great few weeks training and it’s given some players the opportunity to reach full fitness again. It’s also our first home game in six weeks so we’re looking forward to that.”
Regarding his team selection, Friend added:
“In Conor and Colm we have two more Academy graduates making their first starts which is a real positive for us as a club. We’ve also got plenty of experience available to us again since the Edinburgh game, like Jack Carty, Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Matt Healy. So we’re in a healthy spot overall and we can’t wait to get back playing.”
Galway vs Mayo: Connacht Final Preview with Andy Moran and Finian Hanley. Some great stories from previous finals @hanley_finian @andypmoran @MayoGAABlog @MayoGAA @Galway_GAA @Mulliganj https://t.co/lmJgxcoEMf via @SportsNewsIre
— SportsNewsIRELAND (@SportsNewsIRE) November 13, 2020