It's been a magical season for a rugby fan out west. The entire province of Connacht has been showing the rest of Ireland how to play rugby this year, and they are finally taking notice. Pat Lam's men secured a place at the top table of European Rugby with their win over Munster at the weekend, but that doesn't mean it's all good news for the Westies.
Influential lock Aly Muldowney will be leaving the province after he agreed a deal with Bernard Jackman's Grenoble. It's not a huge surprise given that the move was signposted several weeks ago, but that doesn't soften the blow. Muldowney's role as a game-plan leader and passing lock within Connacht's system will mean he's hard to replace - and Lam's men might feel the effects of losing the second row more than Henshaw's departure.
And if Bernard Jackman needed any additional reasons to bulk up his pack then it might have come a couple of weeks ago during the Connacht's agonising loss to the French side.
The main storylines to come out of that 33-32 defeat was the exciting wide-open rugby that Connacht displayed. It was the second time in a year that Connacht had dazzled on the European stage, only to narrowly lose a high scoring game.
The buzz was all about Matt Healy's incision from full-back, but maybe more people should be looking at the grunt that the front five forwards do for Connacht.
Take Healy's try for example. Granted, it came from a lost Connacht line-out where a Grenoble maul made significant metres. But how did a Grenoble maul go from that speed to nothing so quickly?
The Kerry born powerhouse shows remarkable drive to get back enough to do an impersonation of a wall - that stops the maul dead in it's tracks. From there, a bad pass from South African Charl McLeod allows Bundee Aki to pounce - and Connacht are well on their way to an insurmountable lead... Eh.
Still, this is the sort of reason why Ultan Dillane is as highly rated as he is.
Big thanks to Poor Old Ben for the clip.
Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE