23 May, 12:21
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
ENGLAND COUNTIES v IRELAND CLUB XV, Lightfoot Green, Preston Grasshoppers RFC, 7.30pm
Team News: Clontarf's Ben Barclay has earned a late call-up to the Ireland Club team for Friday's clash with England Counties at Preston Grasshoppers RFC. Rob Sweeney is injured and unable to play, so Barclay takes over at loosehead prop.
Barclay's inclusion means there are three changes to the side that defeated the Scotland Club selection last week in the Ulster Bank Club International to retain the Dalriada Cup.
Barclay, a former Ireland Under-20 international, will be making his debut at this level. The 24-year-old has been in consistently good form for Clontarf during the 2011/12 campaign.
The other two changes made by the Irish management are in the back row, with captain Simon Crawford and Hugh Hogan both ruled out because of injury.
Young Munster's Liam Og Murphy comes in for Crawford at blindside flanker, while Clontarf's Frank Cogan will don the number 8 jersey in place of Hogan.
The captain's armband passes to Cork Constitution scrum half Gerry Hurley, with Dolphin prop Christy Condon named as vice-captain.
The Ireland Club team won their corresponding encounter with England Counties last year. David Mongan and Crawford scored the tries which helped the Irish record a 16-8 victory.
Meanwhile, the selected England Counties side includes a number of fresh faces from their meeting with Ireland in Dublin last year.
In keeping with tradition, the Counties have 13 debutants in a squad drawn from 12 clubs. Only four of the English panel started the 2011 encounter between these sides.
England Counties team manager Mike Old said: "I've been really impressed with the guys. They've mixed well, come together very well and our units within the team are good.
"It does help that we have some club combinations involved and also players with previous Counties experience.
"I'm happy with the little bit more experience we have in the squad, be it with the Counties or through more mature club players.
"Rob (Baldwin) will lead the team extremely well and get advice and support from senior players like Matt Hall. I'm also very excited about the back-line, which has trained phenomenally well."
* Tickets are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for OAPs/students. Under-16s accompanied by an adult are free. The gates and bars will open at 5pm.
ENGLAND COUNTIES: Peter Hodgkinson (Ealing Trailfinders); Phil Chesters (Ealing Trailfinders), Andrew Henderson (Barking), Tom Wheatcroft (Ealing Trailfinders), Owen Bruynseels (Ealing Trailfinders); Ross Laidlaw (Rosslyn Park), Harry Peck (Tynedale); Robbie Kalbraier (Blaydon), Matt Hall (Blaydon), Tom Mantell (Macclesfield), Louis McGowan (Sedgley Park), Robbie Hurrell (Stourbridge), Lee Starling (Ealing Trailfinders), Dave Allen (Blackheath), Rob Baldwin (Wharfedale) (capt).
Replacements: David Dickinson (Tynedale), Sam Wilkes (Cinderford), Sam Shires (Tynedale), Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon), Philip Woodhead (Wharfedale), Chris Briers (Fylde), Mike Waywell (Fylde).
IRELAND CLUB XV: Rodger McBurney (Ballymena); Cian Aherne (Lansdowne), Killian Lett (Clontarf), Mike Kelliher (Young Munster), Cathal Quinn (Cork Constitution); Craig Ronaldson (Lansdowne), Gerry Hurley (Cork Constitution) (capt); Ben Barclay (Clontarf), Ger Slattery (Young Munster), Christy Condon (Dolphin), Philip Donnellan (Cork Constitution), Fergal Walsh (Shannon), Liam Og Murphy (Young Munster), Barry O'Mahony (Clontarf), Frank Cogan (Clontarf).
Replacements: Hugh McGrath (Young Munster), Risteard Byrne (UCD), Damian Hall (St. Mary's College), Neville Melbourne (Young Munster), Brian Slater (UCC), Barry Keeshan (Dolphin), James Thompson (Ballynahinch).
Referee: Johann van der Merwe (Scotland)
Pre-Match Links -
Ireland Club XV: Previous Matches -
2006: Ireland Club XV 30 Scotland Club XV 13, Donnybrook
2008: Ireland Club XV 20 Scotland Club XV 15, Donnybrook
2012: Ireland Club XV 26 Scotland Club XV 21, Anglesea Road
|8/2/13||Ireland Club XV||30 - 20||England Counties|
|16/3/12||England Counties||34 - 16||Ireland Club XV|
|18/3/11||Ireland Club XV||16 - 8||England Counties|