The Australian-born Irish international is among a host of new signings unveiled by new coach Michael Bradley, who is determined that Connacht will improve on last season’s performances, when they reached the quarter-finals of the Celtic League and Parker Pen Challenge Cup.
Bradley has also snapped up the AIL’s top try scorer, hooker Bernard Jackman from Clontarf.
Jackman will not be short of acquaintances in the front row as Clontarf props Warren O’Kelly and Adrian Clarke have also been signed to bolster a line which also includes the experienced Dan McFarland and Ireland A international Peter Bracken.
Hooker Marnus Uijs will start his fourth campaign with Connacht while another No.2, John Fogarty, joins from Munster.
Former Australian U21 lock Andrew Farley has joined from Swansea along with the Irish qualified Mike McCarthy who joins from Wasps having been capped at England U21 level.
Ireland U-21 John Muldoon from Portumna has been rewarded with a first full-time contract and will be joined in the back row by Michael Carroll from Blackrock College.
Connacht have left two vacancies in the back row as they consider a number of options.
Another Irish U-21, Conor O’Loughlin from Buccaneers, is one of three scrum-halves in the squad along with Chris Keane and Mike Walls.
Eric Elwood will begin his 15th campaign for the side in a backline where Mark McHugh, Shane Moore, Darren Yapp, Tim Allnutt, Ted Robinson and Wayne Munn are all retained from last season.
Connacht have also signed St Mary’s College winger Conor McPhillips as well as David Hewitt who had a superb season as an outhalf and full-back for Clontarf.
Connacht have awarded Development Contracts to Galwegians prop Ray Hogan and hooker Henry Bourke, Buccaneers backs Paddy O’Sullivan and Justin Meagher as well as Irish-qualified Christian Short, who joins from Bracknell in England.
Connacht Squad 2003/2004: Backs: Mark McHugh; Ted Robinson, Conor McPhillips, Matt Mostyn, Darren Yapp, Tim Allnutt, Shane Moore, Wayne Munn, Eric Elwood, David Hewitt, Chris Keane, Mike Walls, Conor O’Loughlin, Paddy O’Sullivan (Dev.), Justin Meagher (Dev.).
Forwards: Dan McFarland, Warren O’Kelly, Bernard Jackman, Marnus Uijs, John Fogarty, Peter Bracken, Adrian Clarke, Fabian Boiroux, Damian Browne, Andrew Farley, Mike McCarthy, Michael Swift, John Muldoon, Paul Neville, Tom Carter, Michael Carroll, Ray Hogan (Dev.), Henry Bourke (Dev.) Christian Short (Dev.). Two more back row forwards to be added to squad.