All Ireland League Center Signs with RUNY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALL IRELAND LEAGUE CENTER SIGNS WITH RUNY
NEW YORK (December 18, 2018)- New York City’s first professional rugby franchise is excited to announce the signing of Irish center Will Leonard. The 23-year-old from Munster, Ireland has been a standout for Shannon RFC, a member of the All Ireland League, since 2015.
Leonard started his rugby career at the age of 8, playing for Shannon RFC’s youth team. He went on to attend Crescent Comprehensive College, and won two Munster School Senior Cups with the program. After finishing at Crescent College, Leonard returned to Shannon RFC. He has been playing with the club for the past 5 years, helping them achieve promotion back to the first division in the All Ireland League rugby league.
In 2014, Leonard appeared for the Munster Under 20s squad, starting in matches against the Connacht and Ulster U20 sides. Leonard was nominated for the AIL Division 1B Player of the Year, as well as the All Munster Provincial Player of the Year during the 2017-2018 season. Most recently, Leonard was selected to play for the All-Irish club side this past year.
Leonard also holds a First-Class Honors Degree in economics and finance from the University of Limerick.
“I can’t wait to be a part of the first professional rugby side in New York,” Leonard told us. “We have a very strong squad, and a dedicated front office in place. We should be aiming for the playoffs in our first season.”
“I’m pleased to have Will on board at RUNY,” added Head Coach Mike Tolkin. “He brings a strong, go-forward running game, and a good all-around presence to our center position. He’s coming off a couple of strong seasons in Limerick, and I’m looking forward to working with him this season.”
“He is an athlete that will bring a lot of value to our organization,” said General Manager James English. “He will challenge the opposition with his physicality while opening up space for our flyers out wide. We’re thrilled to sign a player like this.”
Welcome to New York, Will. Let’s get to work. 2019 season tickets are available for sale here.
About Rugby United New York
Rugby United New York is a professional rugby team who joined Major League Rugby as an associate member in 2018, playing a brief, but successful exhibition season. Their first full MLR schedule will take place in 2019. When they officially join the league, RUNY’s vision is to bring the excitement of professional rugby to the New York sports landscape. The use of rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, and discipline will help to educate, inspire and connect with the New York Community. Rugby United New York, the city’s first professional rugby franchise, strives to unite the entire rugby community and enrich it at every level throughout the region. The team was founded by James Kennedy of the Murphy Kennedy Group, who is an active supporter of grassroots rugby.
MLR is a professional rugby league that launched in April of 2018. It’s an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels: as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR is the pinnacle of American rugby, and provides a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes. For more information, visit usmlr.com.
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