Contract extensions for Ulster quartet

05/02/2021

Gareth Milasinovich, Ethan McIlroy, Callum Reid and David Shanahan become the latest players to re-commit to the province.

Irish-qualified prop, Gareth Milasinovich, has signed a new two-year deal which will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least June 2023. Since recovering from a serious knee injury, Milasinovich has continued to push for a place in the front row. Of his contract extension, Milasinovich, said:

“I feel extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to continue my career at Ulster. There’s a great bunch of lads and I feel very much at home. We have a youthful squad with an abundance of talent, and I’m excited to be a part of the journey for silverware.”

Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said:

“Gareth was unlucky with injury at the start of his time with us, but he has since hit his stride, and proven in several of this season’s ‘A’ Inter-provincials and PRO14 matches that he is a quality player.”

Ethan McIlroy

20-year old back-three player, Ethan McIlroy, burst onto the scene when he made his debut against Leinster in December 2019. This performance, along with his outings in the Ulster ‘A’ Inter-pros and Celtic Cup matches, earned him an Academy contract for the 2020/21 season. Since then, McIlroy from Ballynahinch has gone on to score two tries across seven subsequent Senior appearances.

Commenting on his new contract, which will see him spend one year as a Development player before being upgraded to a Senior Professional contract, McIlroy, said:

“I’m delighted to have signed a new contract. I believe the team are heading towards winning trophies, and I’m really excited to be a part of that.”

McFarland added: “Ethan has really grown into his role in our squad this season, and he has taken the step up into Senior rugby in his stride. He is keen to keep learning and develop his game which will be key to him achieving his ambitions.”

Callum Reid

Belfast-born prop, Callum Reid, has also signed a contract which will see the 22-year old spend one year as a Development player before being upgraded to a Senior contract for a further year. Part of the Irish Under-20s Six Nations Grand Slam-winning squad in 2019, Reid made his Senior Ulster debut against Munster in January - but it was his solo try for Ulster ‘A’ against Leinster ‘A’ a few weeks ago that caught the attention of many. On his new contract, Reid, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to sign a full-time contract with Ulster. I’ve enjoyed my time in the Academy, and I look forward to progressing and taking the next step forward.”

McFarland added: “Callum is another of our young prospects who has consistently performed at ‘A’ level for Ulster, as well as delivering on his first Senior appearance against Munster this season. As we all saw recently against Leinster ‘A’, he is very dynamic in the loose and has the potential to develop into a strong scrummager.”

David Shanahan

Completing today’s announcements is scrum half, David Shanahan, who has 65 Ulster appearances to his name. The Dublin-born 27-year old, who is a product of the Ulster Academy programme, notably scored Ulster’s ninth try in this season’s Guinness PRO14 away win over Zebre – taking the scoreboard to an impressive 14-57. On re-signing for a further year, Shanahan, said:

“I’m really happy and grateful to be extending my time here at Ulster. I’m hoping to add to some of the great memories I’ve made both on and off the pitch. It’s been really cool being a part of this group that’s improved so much over the last three years, and I’m excited to see what we can achieve.”

Head Coach, Dan McFarland, concluded: “David has added hugely to our squad over his time in Ulster. He epitomises the competitiveness we ask of each other but has also developed his game, becoming a real asset in his defensive and support play.”

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