The Ireland Club side to play England Counties in the AIB Club International on Friday, 23rd February has been named today at a media conference in Dublin.
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 selection 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 only outstanding selection issue is at inside centre, where the management is waiting on Glen Telford to prove his fitness. If Telford does not pass a fitness test, then Philip Brophy will start the game.
The team will be captained by David Quinlan from Shannon.
Commenting on the game, Ireland Team Manager Mick Galwey said: “After the success of last year’s game, myself, the management and players are really looking forward to playing in front of another big crowd in Donnybrook. It is the only game Dublin that evening and hopefully it will be another entertaining game, just as last year against Scotland was”.
“The selection of this squad was a tough process with so many players to consider. The honour of representing not only Ireland, but the club game itself is a wonderful concept and will be even better if we win on Friday evening”.
Ireland Club XV
The Ireland team to Play England Counties in the AIB Club International in Donnybrook on Friday, 23rd February 2007 at 19.05hrs is as follows:
15 – Richard McCarter (Dungannon)
14 – Niall O’Brien (Clontarf)
13 – Kevin Hartigan (Garryowen)
12 – Glen Telford (Dungannon)/Philip Brophy (St.Mary’s College)
11 – Cronan Healy (Cork Constitution)
10 – Andrew Thompson (Shannon)
9 – Fiach O’Loughlin (Clontarf)
1 – Dan O’Connell (Galwegians)
2 – Matthew Crockett (Dublin University)
3 – Simon Shawe (Ballymena)
4 – Merle O’Connor (Cork Constitution)
5 – Alan Maher (Lansdowne)
6 – Peter Malone (Garryowen)
7 – Conor Hartigan (Buccaneers)
8 – David Quinlan (Shannon) Captain
16 – Kevin Corrigan (Lansdowne)
17 – Stephen Nolan (Terenure College)
18 – Simon Crawford (Clontarf)
19 – Frank Cogan (Cork Constitution)
20 – Mark Bruce (Buccanneers)
21 – Barry Keeshan (Dolphin)
22 – Andrew Finn (Shannon)