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Cian Kelleher (born 7 August 1994) is a professional rugby union player from Ireland. He primarily plays on the wing or at fullback. Kelleher currently plays for Leinster in the Pro14, where he started his career. After initially coming through Leinster's academy, Kelleher had a three-year spell with Irish rivals Connacht, before returning to Leinster for the 2019–20 season.

Cian Kelleher
Date of birth (1994-08-07) 7 August 1994 (age 25)
Place of birthSandymount, Ireland
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight96 kg (15 st 2 lb; 212 lb)
SchoolSt Michael's College
UniversityUniversity College Dublin
Rugby union career
Position(s) Winger
Current team Connacht
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Lansdowne ()
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2015–2016
2016–2019
2019–
Leinster
Connacht
Leinster
7
54
0
(5)
(70)
(0)
Correct as of 8 May 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2014 Ireland U20 9 (15)
Correct as of 20 June 2014

Kelleher has represented Ireland internationally. He played for the Ireland under-20s in the 2014 Under-20 Six Nations and at the 2014 Junior World Championship, scoring three tries in nine appearances. Kelleher made his first appearance for the Irish senior side in an uncapped match against the Barbarians on 28 May 2015.

Early lifeEdit

Kelleher was born in Sandymount in County Dublin. He attended St Michael's College, where he played rugby for the school side.[1] Kelleher was part of the St Michael's side that won the Leinster Senior Cup in 2012,[2] and reached the final in 2013.[3] After finishing secondary school, Kelleher attended University College Dublin where he studied economics.[4]

Rugby careerEdit

LeinsterEdit

Kelleher came through the Leinster academy system. He was late to join the youth setup however, being recognised for Irish under-18 level before having played for his province at any level.[4] He joined the Leinster academy in the 2014–15 season, and made his debut in the final game of that season, when he came on as a replacement against Edinburgh in the Pro12.[5] In the 2015–16 season, Kelleher played six times with all but one of these appearances being from the bench. He scored his first try for the side against Zebre on 12 February 2016.[6] In May 2016, it was announced that Kelleher was leaving Leinster to join provincial rivals Connacht,[5] having turned down a senior contract.[7]

ConnachtEdit

Kelleher joined Connacht ahead of the 2016–17 season. He made his debut on the first day of the season, starting against Glasgow Warriors in the Pro12 on 3 September 2016. He scored his first try for Connacht on 30 September 2016 against Edinburgh.[6] Kelleher made his European debut on 15 October 2016, when he started against Toulouse in the Champions Cup.[8] He was playing regularly for Connacht until he tore his hamstring against Wasps in December 2016, which severely interrupted his season.[4] Kelleher ultimately made a total of 14 appearances in his debut season, scoring six tries.[6][8]

Following his recovery from injury, Kelleher was able to play more regularly in his second season. He played 18 times between the Pro14 and the Challenge Cup, scoring three tries.[6][8] In March 2018, it was announced that Kelleher had signed an extension to his Connacht deal.[9] He had his most successful season with the side in 2018–19 season, appearing 17 times in the Pro14 and scoring five tries. Kelleher also started four of the team's six group games in the Challenge Cup and the quarter-final against Sale Sharks.[8] In January 2019, it was announced that Kelleher would leave Connacht after three seasons with the province.[10] He made a total of 54 appearances in his time with the side, scoring 14 tries.[6][8]

Return to LeinsterEdit

It was announced on 8 January 2019 that Kelleher would be re-joining Leinster ahead of the 2019–20 season.[11]

InternationalEdit

Kellher has represented Ireland internationally. He played for the under-18 side before he had represented Leinster at under-age level.[4] Kelleher later played for the Ireland under-20 side. He made nine appearances and scored three tries in his time with the team, featuring in both the 2014 Under-20 Six Nations and 2014 Junior World Championship.[12]

In May 2015, Kelleher was selected for an Ireland squad to play against the Barbarians.[13] He was named on the bench for the uncapped match, and played the last five minutes of the game after coming on as a late replacement for Collie O'Shea.[14]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Leinster school attracting overseas interest over how they are producing so many Irish rugby stars". Irish Independent. 2 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Towering Leavy Michael's hero". Irish Independent. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Power and the glory goes to Blackrock". Irish Times. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "'We just take each week as it comes and that's important'". Irish Independent. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Cian Kelleher to leave Leinster Rugby". Leinster Rugby. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Player Profile: Cian Kelleher". Pro14.
  7. ^ "Cian Kelleher turns down Leinster contract to join Connacht". Irish Times. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Player Archive: Cian Kelleher". European Professional Club Rugby.
  9. ^ "Connacht quartet sign contract extensions". RTÉ Sport. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Connacht confirm Kelleher departure amid reports of Leinster return". The42. 8 January 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Connacht winger Cian Kelleher will return to Leinster next season". Irish Times. 8 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Ireland U20 Squad Profiles: Cian Kelleher". Irish Rugby. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  13. ^ "New faces in Ireland squad for Barbarians clash". RTÉ Sport. 25 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Ireland pipped by Barbarians at Thomond Park". RTÉ Sport. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.

External linksEdit