Robbie Henshaw has committed his immediate future to Connacht after signing a deal which will keep him at the Sportsground until 2015.
The 19-year-old full-back, who is currently a member of the Connacht Academy, has made a big impact with Connacht this season and played a major part in last week’s victory over Biarritz.
The signing is a boost for Connacht following news that inspirational second-row Mike McCarthy will join Leinster at the end of the current season.
"The last three months have been amazing." - Henshaw
Henshaw was named on the bench for the RaboDirect PRO12 opener against Cardiff Blues back in September but took his chances when called upon for the subsequent two games.
The Athlone-born teenager then played the full 80 minutes against Glasgow Warriors and Leinster, first at centre before moving to full-back.
Biarritz v Connacht: Live on RTÉ Radio 1, Friday, 8pm
Since then, he has established himself as a key component in Connacht's back line and is one of only two squad members to have featured in all 13 games this season.
Henshaw said: "I'm absolutely delighted to have signed a full contract with Connacht. This is my home province and it's so good to have the chance to play here.
“Last year, my ambitions were to get into the academy, that's all I wanted. Then I got on the bench for the first game of the season and the last three months have been amazing.
“Nigel (Carolan) has been great to me and Eric (Elwood) has given young players a chance here, so I owe them both a lot. Connacht has progressed so much in recent years and a few years ago it wouldn't have been possible for me to be playing for my local region."
Henshaw has represented Ireland at Under-19 level and was part of the 2011 Ireland Schools team who were crowned FIRA-AER U18 European Champions following their final 17-8 win over England.
And the Connacht man has also played for the Westmeath minor footballers and represented his county in 2010 and 2011, while he is currently studying Arts at NUIG.
There will be full live coverage of Biarritz v Connacht on a specially extended Sport at Seven on RTÉ Radio 1 on Friday 14 December from 7pm.