Cian Kelleher rejoins Leinster as 21 new contracts confirmed - but no update on Rob Kearney

Cian Kelleher has rejoined Leinster as the province announced 21 new contracts for next season.

The 24-year-old winger has scored 14 tries in 54 appearances for Connacht since leaving the Leinster Academy in 2016.

He will be joined by his younger brother Rónan in the senior squad after he was one of seven Academy players to be promoted to senior contracts.

While central contract extensions have been previously announced for Johnny Sexton, Cian Healy (two years each), and Robbie Henshaw (three years), they are joined with new contracts by fellow Ireland internationals Jack Conan, Dave Kearney, Dan Leavy, Fergus McFadden, and Luke McGrath.

Australian international Scott Fardy has also signed up for 2019/20, as well as Maori All Black Jamison Gibson-Park.

Seán O’Brien, Jack McGrath, and Noel Reid are among the internationals leaving the province this summer, as well as Mick Kearney, Nick McCarthy, Ian Nagle, and Tom Daly.

However, Rob Kearney was neither included on the list of players with renewed contracts nor those departing this summer.

The full-back's contract expires in November after the Rugby World Cup.

Promising forwards such as Max Deegan and Bryan Byrne get extensions, while Scott Penny, who helped Ireland to the U20 Six Nations Grand Slam, graduates to the senior ranks.

"It is a credit to the work that goes on in the schools and in the clubs that we are in a position to confirm 21 new contracts, with all but three coming through the system here," said Leinster head coach Leo Cullen in a statement.

Over the last ten months or so we have been able to hand debuts to nine Academy players and they have deserved those opportunities. And now seven players that started this season in the Academy will start next season as senior players.

"I am delighted for them and indeed their families and congratulate them on their promotion. We have been very happy with what we have seen from them all in the Guinness PRO14 and in some cases in the Heineken Champions Cup and we hope that they get many more chances in a Leinster jersey in the coming years.

"It is also exciting to welcome Cian back to Leinster Rugby. We have always kept a close eye on his progress at Connacht and it’s great that we can now welcome him back to Leinster and we wish him well in what is already a very competitive position in the team."

Cian Kelleher said: "I’m incredibly excited to get back to my home province this summer and get started in an unbelievable set up in Leinster.

"It was an opportunity too good to refuse when it came up and I can’t wait to get started and compete in an extremely competitive environment. I hope to add to the incredible success the province has had in the last couple of seasons."

Leinster Rugby – New Senior Contracts 2019/20:

1. Bryan Byrne, 41 Leinster Caps (LC), 12 Leinster Tries (T)

2. Jack Conan, 14 Ireland Caps (IC), 88 LC, 21 T

3. Max Deegan, 45 LC, 11 T

4. Scott Fardy, 39 Australia Caps, 43 LC, 9 T

5. Ciarán Frawley, 14 LC, 1 T

6. Jamison Gibson-Park, 70 LC, 15 T

7. Cian Healy, 2 British & Irish Lions Caps (BIL), 88 IC, 2017 LC, 22 T

8. Robbie Henshaw, 4 BIL, 37 IC, 36 LC, 7 T

9. Dave Kearney, 17 IC, 136 LC, 29 T

10. Hugo Keenan, 5 LC, 1 T

11. Cian Kelleher, 7 LC, 1 T

12. Rónan Kelleher, 2 LC

13. Dan Leavy, 11 IC, 63 LC, 16 T

14. Fergus McFadden, 34 IC, 178 LC, 27 T

15. Luke McGrath, 10 IC, 112 LC, 29 T

16. Josh Murphy, 21 LC, 1 T

17. Conor O’Brien, 17 LC, 6 T

18. Jimmy O’Brien, 7 LC, 3 T

19. Hugh O’Sullivan, 14 LC

20. Scott Penny, 6 LC, 2 T

21. Johnny Sexton, 14 BIL, 83 IC, 159 LC, 25 T

Academy Players Promoted to Senior Squad:

1. Ciarán Frawley

2. Hugo Keenan

3. Rónan Kelleher

4. Conor O’Brien

5. Jimmy O’Brien

6. Hugh O’Sullivan

7. Scott Penny

Leinster Rugby – Departees 2018/19:

1. Tom Daly, 12 LC, 2 T

2. Mick Kearney, 51 LC, 1 T

3. Nick McCarthy, 35 LC, 4 T

4. Jack McGrath, 7 BIL, 54 IC, 145 LC, 12 T

5. Ian Nagle, 19 LC

6. Seán O’Brien, 11 BIL, 56 IC, 126 LC, 20 T

7. Noel Reid, 1 IC, 121 LC, 17 Tries


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