Hendrick and Connolly agree new Derby deals
Derby County's Republic of Ireland Under-19 internationals Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Connolly have each extended their stay at Pride Park by signing new one-year contract extensions.
Both teenagers, along with their compatriot Mark O'Brien, have been highly though of enough by Derby that manager Nigel Clough was keen to reward them with new deals.
While defender O'Brien and Connolly have both featured in the Derby County first-team, Hendrick is edging closer to a breakthrough by making the substitutes bench on a regular basis this campaign.
Mayo native Connolly sparkled at the start of the season, scoring the winner for the Ireland Under-19s against Ukraine in a friendly staged in Dublin during August only to suffer the misfortune of rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament a few days later.
That ruled the winger out of Ireland's UEFA first phase qualifiers in Bulgaria. Midfielder Hendrick was a mainstay of the team that secured qualification, playing every minute of the group games against Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Serbia.
Connolly is recovering well from his injury and could yet be available when Ireland's Under-19 side embark on the UEFA Elite phase qualifiers from May 24-29 in Poland when Paul Doolin's side battle it out with Italy, Ukraine and the hosts for the one place available into the European Championship finals.
Nigel Clough told the Derby County official website how delighted he was to secure the two Irishmen for next season.
He said: "We are pleased both Jeff and Ryan will be with us for another year and we hope they continue to develop.
"Jeff has been involved with the first-team squad in the last two months and has been performing well for the reserves, where he has shown he is developing as a player.
"Ryan has been so unfortunate that he hasn't been able to build on the promising season he enjoyed last year because of injury, but we saw enough of him before his injury to suggest he has something to offer."