The 20-year-old Sean O’Brien, a member of the Ireland Under-20s’ Grand Slam-winning squad this year, has been chosen as captain of the Leinster “A” team for tomorrow’s Interprovincial championship opener against Ulster “A” (Anglesea Road, kick-off 6.30pm).
O’Brien, who is on the cusp of making his senior bow for Leinster, will skipper the “A’ side from the back row, where he is joined by Richie Leyden and Kevin McLaughlin.
Leinster’s “A” team, coached by Colin McEntee and Richie Murphy, includes a number of promising young players, as well as some established senior squad members in hooker Brian Blaney and lock Cameron Jowitt.
The starting line-up includes twelve players who have seen Magners League action this season, among them centre Michael Berne, who has recovered from a fractured cheekbone in a timely boost to the province.
Ross McCarron starts in a speedy-looking back three which includes Fionn Carr, who made his senior debut last week against Glasgow, and Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam full-back Felix Jones, who is set for a winger’s role.
In the pack, another former U-20 international Cian Healy, fresh from scoring his first senior try for Leinster against Glasgow, lines up in the front row alongside the aforementioned Blaney and Argentinian prop Juan Francisco Gomez.
The Leinster “A” replacements bench includes a number of up-and-coming Academy players, amongst them Richie Sweeney, who impressed in pre-season, Paul O’Donohoe, Shane Monahan, Ruaidhri Murphy, Kevin Sheahan and Kyle Tonetti, who were all members of the Ireland U-20 Grand Slam-winning squad of 2007.
Tomorrow’s game at the home of Old Belvedere RFC has free entry for Leinster Season Ticket Holders. Non-season ticket holders and fans travelling south in support of Ulster can pay at the gate: €10 – Adult, €5 – Schoolchildren.
LEINSTER “A”: Ross McCarron (Lansdowne); Fionn Carr (Blackrock College RFC), Fergus McFadden (UCD), Michael Berne (De La Salle Palmerston), Felix Jones (Seapoint/Old Belvedere (dual status)); James Power (Greystones), Chris Keane (Old Belvedere); Cian Healy (Clontarf), Brian Blaney (Terenure College RFC), Juan Francisco Gomez (-), Devin Toner (Lansdowne), Cameron Jowitt (Lansdowne), Richie Leyden (Old Belvedere), Sean O’Brien (UCD) (capt), Kevin McLaughlin (UCD).
Replacements: Richie Sweeney (St. Mary’s College RFC), Ruaidhri Murphy (Lansdowne), Paul Doran Jones (Lansdowne), Conor McInerney (St. Mary’s College RFC), Kevin Sheahan (St. Mary’s College RFC), Paul O’Donohoe (Clontarf), Kyle Tonetti (Blackrock College RFC), Shane Monahan (Blackrock College RFC).