10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
With the Munster Junior Challenge Cup and Munster Junior Division One title already in the bag, Cork club Youghal will run out at Lansdowne Road on Saturday looking to continue their purple patch.
19 wins in 21 outings is a record to be proud of and club President Norman McDonald, Limerick-born but one of Youghal RFC's founding members, has revelled in the first team's success this season.
I have really enjoyed this year - it has been fantastic. When I go to Cork now I am greeted by ex-Munster coaches and players and in fact people from all different clubs who want to shake my hand, wish us well.
Everyone within the province wants us to go on and win the AIB Junior Cup. That kind of backing is deeply appreciated and come Saturday, we will give it our best shot to win it for the club, town, county and province, he told the club's website.
Having lost to Cobh Pirates in last season's Munster Junior League semi-final, Youghal, led by player-coach Robbie Doyle, have come back a different side this season.
The 30-year-old Doyle, who slots in at out-half and centre, explained: I think we had been making a significant amount of progress over the last two years with Terry who did an awful lot of good work. Roy (McArdle) wanted to make some changes, as did I, and they seemed to have worked well.
For instance, last year we had a core of 15 players and substitutes, but this year, we have expanded the squad and strengthened the bench. Each player is capable of playing in the starting XV and that has made a huge difference. The confidence levels have certainly come up.
Aided by new number eight Shaun McCreedy from New Zealand and the return of John Collins (Sundays Well) and scrum half/centre Thomas Curran and centre Eric Buckley (Highfield), the east Cork outfit have really got their act together.
The Cup and League titles were both garnered at Musgrave Park last month in the space of a heady seven days. First up, Kanturk were dispatched 24-18 in the Cup final and a week later, Youghal gained revenge on Cobh as a last-minute kick from out-half Mark Walsh saw them secure a 11-9 win in the League decider.
With the AIB League Round Robin series to come - Youghal clash again with Rainey on April 22, player-coach Doyle just concentrating on his side's big Dublin date.
I think it's only in recent days that it's started to sink in that we're in the final. Even though it would just be fantastic to be at Lansdowne as a coach, it's even better to be there as a player too - it's been a boyhood dream of mine to play there and I just can't wait to realise it.