Leader looking to kick-start a new career with the NFL


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Leader looking to kick-start a new career with the NFL Leader looking to kick-start a new career with the NFL

By Jamie Curley

Former Connacht player Darragh Leader is one of the select Irishmen who are making waves in American football as they look to pave their way towards a career in the NFL.

Leader started his venture into the world of rugby at a young age, taking after his father Noel who was captained Galwegians back in the ’80s. A late bloomer compared to his older brothers, he adapted to the sport quickly and progressively improved his standard when playing for the U-12s and U-13s.

Despite his lateness when taking up the sport, he would excel as he rose through the ranks, and made his debut for the senior team in the early 2010s, a period when Galwegians were at their peak in the AIL, playing regularly in the higher echelons of club rugby.

His time at Glenina was full of treasured memories, especially when he got to play alongside his brother Tadgh in the senior team, a rare occasion in the history of Galwegians to see a pair of brothers play together.

“We didn’t play any games at underage together, so our first game together was against Corinthians on a Friday night. We scored about 30 points between us, so that was a really cool experience for both of us”.

His time in the senior ranks wouldn’t last too long as his impressive performances earned him a spot in the Connacht setup where he would spend eight seasons, making just shy of a century of appearances for the province.

His kicking prowess was on clear display when he hit a 60m winning penalty for the Connacht Eagles back in 2013 in the Sportsground, the longest-recorded kick in their history.  He was the U-20s player of the year for the interpro team, which earned him a spot in the senior squad.

“I remember being in Smokeys in NUIG when I got the call, sitting down on one of the couches when I got the call from my academy coach saying ‘you’re going to play for the senior team against the Ospreys’. I wasn’t expecting it at all!”

Pictured: Daragh Leader takes a kick for Connacht in the league game against Leinster in the Sportsground back in January 2014. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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