Gary J. Connolly (born 22 June 1971 in St Helens, England) was a rugby league full back who later played at centre 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.
At 17 years of age Connolly 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 £451,000 in 2009).
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. 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 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.
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