|Full name||Gary J. Connolly|
22 June 1971 |
St. Helens, Lancashire, England
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||89 kg (14 st 0 lb)|
Gary J. Connolly (born 22 June 1971) is a retired rugby league player who played centre and full back for St. Helens, Canterbury Bulldogs, Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos and for the Great Britain national side. In the twilight of his career, he played rugby union for Irish side Munster.
Connolly was born in St. Helens, Lancashire. At 17 years of age he appeared in St. Helens' ill-fated defeat to their arch rivals at Wembley in 1989 on the back of some impressive performances. He was selected to go on the 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand. His move to rivals, Wigan, in 1993 was a controversial one and many St. Helens followers labelled him 'Judas'. Wigan paid £250,000 for Gary Connolly when he moved from St Helens in 1993 (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £496,800 in 2013).
Gary Connolly played Centre, i.e. number 3, in St. Helens's 24-14 victory over Rochdale Hornets in the 1991 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1991–92 season at Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington, on Sunday 20 October 1991, and played Centre, i.e. number 3, in the 4-5 defeat by Wigan in the 1992 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1992–93 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 18 October 1992.
Connolly was a member of the successful Wigan team of the mid-1990s. After the 1993–94 Rugby Football League season he travelled with defending champions Wigan to Brisbane, playing at fullback in their 1994 World Club Challenge victory over Australian premiers, the Brisbane Broncos.
Gary Connolly played Centre, i.e. number 4, in Wigan's 2-33 defeat by Castleford in the 1993–94 Regal Trophy Final during the 1993–94 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 22 January 1994, played Centre, i.e. number 4, and scored a try in the 40-10 victory over Warrington in the 1994–95 Regal Trophy Final during the 1994–95 season at Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield on Saturday 28 January 1995, and played Fullback in the 25-16 victory over St. Helens in the 1995–96 Regal Trophy Final during the 1994–95 season at Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield on Saturday 13 January 1996.
Connolly was selected to play for the English national team in their 1995 World Cup campaign. Connolly was selected to play for England in the 1995 World Cup Final at centre but Australia won the match and retained the Cup. He was named in the Super League Dream Team of the 1996 at fullback. Connolly played a one-off international for a 'Rest of the World' team in their 28–8 loss against the Australian Rugby League's Kangaroos in mid-1997. Connolly played for Wigan at centre in their 1998 Super League Grand Final victory against Leeds Rhinos. He was named in the 1999 season's Super League Dream Team at centre. Connolly played for the Wigan Warriors at centre in their 2001 Super League Grand Final loss against the Bradford Bulls.
Connolly moved to Leeds in 2003 and the same year was awarded the Lance Todd Trophy as Man of the Match in the 2003 Challenge Cup Final against Bradford Bulls. He was also named in the 2003 Super League Dream Team at fullback.
Connolly was regarded as one of the premier British centres of his generation and appeared 31 times for the national side excelling in the defensive side of the game, although his try scoring record was very modest at this level.
- "Offiah hails arrival of Fielden". bbc.co.uk. 22 June 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Measuring Worth - Relative Value of UK Pounds". Measuring Worth. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "1992–1993 Lancashire Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "28th January 1995: Warrington 10 Wigan 40 (Regal Trophy Final)". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "13th January 1996: St Helens 16 Wigan 25 (Regal Trophy Final)". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- Alan Whiticker & Glen Hudson (2007). The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players. Wetherill Park, New South Wales: Gary Allen Pty Ltd. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-877082-93-1.
- Gary Connolly St Helens Career Page on the Saints Heritage Society Website.
- Gary Connolly Wigan Career Page on the Wigan RL Fansite.
- Canterbury Bulldogs profile
- 2001 Ashes profile
- England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk
- Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org
- Munster Profile