A 28 man squad for the first AIB Club International of the season between an Ireland Club XV and England Counties in Donnybrook on Friday, 23rd February has been named today.
The game is part of the IRFU Community Rugby Programme and gives non contracted club players the opportunity to win representative honours for Ireland and to showcase the club game at the highest possible level. The game will also be televised live by RTE with a 7.05pm kick off.
The AIB Club International side will also play an away fixture against a similar Scotland side on the eve of the Scotland v Ireland Championship game next month.
The initial squad has been selected throughout the AIB League season to date with club coaches asked to put forward names of opposition players that have impressed them. In addition to this, a four man team of selection advisors including Hugh McCaughey (Dungannon), Finbarr Dennehy (UCC), Stephen Rooney (Lansdowne) and Ciaran Smyth (Corinthians) have been monitoring games and recommending players for consideration.
The recommendations of the club coaches and selection advisors were then narrowed down by the Ireland Management team of Coach Geoff Moylan, Manager Mick Galwey, Assistant Coach Gerald McCarter and Assistant Manager Donal Brennan.
The selected squad represents 13 clubs from the AIB League from all four provinces. The squad will come together for a training session on Sunday, 18th February after which the Ireland team and replacements will be selected.
The team to play England Counties in the AIB Club International will be named by the Ireland management team at a media conference on Monday February 19th.
Ireland Squad for AIB Club International
Frank Cogan (Cork Constitution), Kevin Corrigan (Lansdowne), Simon Crawford (Clontarf), Matthew Crockett (Dublin University), Conor Hartigan (Buccaneers), Les Hogan (Shannon), Alan Maher (Lansdowne), Peter Malone (Garryowen), Rory McGrath (Dolphin), Stephen Nolan (Terenure College), Dan O’Connell (Galwegians), Merle O’Connor (Cork Constitution), David Quinlan (Shannon), Simon Shawe (Ballymena)
Anthony Barrett (Galwegians), Philip Brophy (St.Mary’s College), Mark Bruce (Buccanneers), John Cleary (Galwegians), Andrew Finn (Shannon), Kevin Hartigan (Garryowen), Cronan Healy (Cork Constitution), Barry Keeshan (Dolphin), Paul Magee (Dungannon), Richard McCarter (Dungannon), Niall O’Brien (Clontarf), Fiach O’Loughlin (Clontarf), Glen Telford (Dungannon), Andrew Thompson (Shannon).
England Counties Squad
Aikman (Halifax & Lancashire); Armitage(Esher); Barr (Esher & Middlesex);
Bedworth (Wharfedale & Yorkshire); Bressington (Stourbridge & Gloucestershire)
Hallett (Esher & Surrey); Leek (Esher & Surrey)
Malherbe (Wharfedale & Yorkshire); Roberts (Cinderford & Kent);
Sweeney (Launceston & Cornwall)
Allen (Blackheath & Kent); Blakeburn (Esher & Surrey)
Cormack (Esher & Surrey); Doran (Esher & Surrey);
Hayman (Westcombe Park & Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire)
Owen (Manchester & Cheshire); Reed (Launceston & Devon)
Snowball (Darlington & Yorkshire); Spence (Bradford & Bingley & Yorkshire);
Tideswell (Stourbridge & North Midlands)
Winterbottom (Henley & Middlesex); Wordley (Henley & Staffordshire)