The recent 42-0 defeat by England Students of the Scottish Universities will certainly be very much on the minds of the Irish Colleges side when they take the field for their final match in the Four Nations tournament on Friday night at Henley-on-Thames (kick-off 8pm).
But with two wins from two games, the Irish Colleges, sponsored by Treasury Holdings, are coming into this final outing with confidence and are determined to return home with the Grand Slam accolade.
The Irish Colleges had the perfect start to their current campaign in this inaugural Four Nations tournament when they defeated the UK Combines Forces Under-23 team by 40-0 in London in mid February.
‘Colleges also defeated the Scottish Universities by 45-8 at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown in their more recent game. The English Students are recognised as the top student team in the United Kingdom in recent years and will have certainly have strength in depth, mainly due to their large playing base.
Irish Colleges have an affiliated membership of 39 Colleges and Universities. ‘Colleges have always seen the importance of the domestic playing programme and a colleges representative programme.
Indeed, the original committee were instrumental in getting all four nations involved and becoming outright winners in the first competition in 1988.
In past years, ‘Colleges have played many representative teams, student and otherwise. They have played the Japanese Universities, South African Technicons, the Holland Under-23 and Belgium Under-21 teams and more recently, the Canadian Under-23 team.
“We are delighted that our team have done so well in their first two games and we are particularly pleased that both the French students and Welsh students have shown an interest in participating in next years tournament,” said Moss Dineen, who has a long involvement in the Irish Colleges set-up having recently combined the dual role of President of Irish Colleges with that of President of City of Derry RFC.
IRISH COLLEGES TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v English Students, Four Nations tournament, Friday, March 14, Henley RFC, Oxfordshire, kick-off 8pm):
15 – John Nicol (Stranmillis College, Belfast/Ballymena)
14 – Philip Howard (Design Inst Art Tech Dun Laoghaire/Clontarf)
13 – Paddy O’Toole (Garda/Connemara)
12 – Mick O’Shea (Garda/Suttonians)
11 – David Rowan (Inst Art Design Tech Dun Laoghaire/Blackrock College)
10 – Phil De Barra (Institute of Technology Carlow/De La Salle Palmerston)
9 – Brendan O’Brien (Blackhall Place/Wanderers)
1 – Shane Cahill (Dun Laoghaire VEC/Blackrock College)
2 – Alex O’Sullivan (Inst Art Design Tech Dun Laoghaire/Greystones)
3 – Stephen Snell (National College of Ireland/Greystones)
4 – Barry Holmes (Dublin Institute of Technology/Greystones)
5 – Chris Napier (Belfast Metropolitan College/Ballynahinch)
6 – John Downey (Sallynoggin VEC/Greystones)
7 – Hugh Hogan (Griffith College Dublin/St. Mary’s College)
8 – Dan Kenny (Dun Laoghaire VEC/Greystones)
16 – Jonathan Molloy (Institute of Technology Tallaght/St. Mary’s College)
17 – Jason Taggart (UUJ/Ballymena)
18 – Ben Reilly (Dublin City University/Suttonians)
19 – Ian Cullinane (NUI Galway/Galwegians)
20 – Brian Moroney (Institute of Technology Tallaght/Terenure)
21 – Brian Collins (Institute of Technology Blanchardstown/Old Belvedere)
22 – Craig Morrin (Institute of Technology Tallaght/St. Mary’s College)
23 – Darragh Fanning (Institute of Technology Tallaght/St. Mary’s College)
24 – Damien Carley (Institute of Technology Carlow/County Carlow)
25 – Richard O’Neill (Institute of Technology Tallaght/Terenure)
Manager: Moss Dineen
Assistant Manager: Mick Poole
Head Coach: Eamonn Molloy
Assistant Coaches: Eoin Hogan and Chris Galway