GREAT news has come through for rugby followers in town with the announcement that former Tralee RFC youth player, Ultan Dillane, has been selected in the Connacht squad that will face Leinster in their Pro12 clash in the RDS tonight.
Growing up only minutes from the Rugby Club in Ballydunlea, Ultan is now the second player from Tralee to make it in the professional game. The other player being former Munster winger, Danny Barnes.
The 21 year old has made all the right noises coming through the ranks, picking up caps for Ireland u18 and u20 sides and turning out for Munster youths.
Ultan made the switch to Connacht when, at 18, he was offered a contract to enter their academy. Last year he won a sports scholarship at NUI Galway where he is studying sports science.
“He’s an absolute gentleman as a person, we’re very proud of Ultan, he is a guy that all the young players at the club look up to” said Ger Breen, Tralee RFC Director of Rugby.
“He behaved like a professional right from the beginning. When he played his first senior game for Tralee he was only 18 and even then you could see he was head and shoulders above most of the other players” said Ger Breen.
At the moment the Tralee club is punching above its weight producing great talent, with a number of players from the club playing for Munster and Ireland at youth level.
The PRO of West Munster Rugby, Jay Galvin, is someone who has have seen Ultan rising through the ranks from a young age.
“He is a powerful young lad. They’re managing him well in Connacht by bringing him on slowly instead of throwing him in. With so many players going through the Munster and Leinster academies he is better off in Connacht at the moment, they’ve a very good system there now where he will learn his trade,” said Jay Galvin.
“In fairness to his mother, Ellen, she travelled everywhere and anywhere with him to further his career so she deserves a hell of a lot of credit,” said Jay.
Ultan is a well known face to many in town as he has worked part-time in Baily’s Corner over the years. They’ll be all rooting for him tonight.
You can check out to see if Ultan gets his game tonight live on TG4. Kick off – 7:35pm