Connacht Rugby's Dave Heffernan. Photo: Sportsfile

Major milestone approaching for Mayo rugby player

Ballina native Dave Heffernan is set to make his 150th appearance for this home province when Connacht return to URC action tomorrow night (Friday) against Ospreys at The Sportsground.

Heffernan has been named to start alongside fellow Mayo man Matthew Burke, from Ballinrobe, and Finlay Bealham in the front row as Connacht take the field for the first time in five weeks.

It's a major milestone in the rugby career of the north Mayo man and according to Connacht head coach Andy Friend, a special game for both Dave and Ballina RFC.

Behind the front three, Niall Murray and Ultan Dillane make up the second row, while Jarrad Butler starts at blindside flanker opposite Conor Oliver and Paul Boyle completes the back row at number eight.

Elsewhere, summer signing Shayne Bolton will make his Connacht debut. The 20-year-old has been named at outside centre, where he forms a partnership with Sammy Arnold.

There are two further changes in the back three, with Alex Wootton making his first appearance of the season on the wing and Oran McNulty handed his first Connacht start at full-back.

The in-form Mack Hansen starts on the opposite wing, while Kieran Marmion and captain Jack Carty continue at scrum-half and out-half respectively.

Among those on the bench is Peter Robb, who could make his first appearance since February if called upon.

Commenting on tomorrow's game, Friend said: “Ospreys have made a really good start to their season and they’re always difficult to play against, so everyone knows we have to push on from our interpro performances to get the win we need.”

The game is scheduled to start at 5.15 p.m. tomorrow evening in The Sportsground, Galway.