Ireland will take on England in the AIB Club International game at Donnybrook on Friday week (February 27) with the kick-off at 5.00pm. An extended Irish squad has been announced.
The Ireland AIB Club International management team is once again headed up by well-known Cork Constitution coach Brian Walsh.
Walsh guided Ireland to a memorable victory over Scotland in last year’s AIB Club International. He will be assisted by Brian Hyland of UCC, whilst the squad will be managed by Donal Brennan.
A 36-man squad for the AIB Club International has been announced today (Tuesday). The squad was selected throughout the AIB League season to date with club coaches asked to put forward names of opposition players that had impressed them.
In addition to this, a four-man team of selection advisors including Roly Meates, Finbar Dennehy, Ciaran Smith and David Smyth have been monitoring games and recommending players for consideration.
Commenting on the game, Walsh said: “We have introduced a number of new faces to this year’s squad and hopefully that will bring the same sort of enthusiasm and the same results that we had last year and in previous years.
“The lads have done very well in the sessions that we have had, so we hope that we will be in for another entertaining match, particularly after last year’s fantastic spectacle against Scotland.
“The opportunity to represent Irish rugby at any level is an honour and something that many of the AIB League club players may never have had the chance do again, so the Club International is really becoming an objective for many of the players in the AIB League.
“We want to enjoy the match, as any fixture against our old rivals England is always a great occasion, but we also want to win the game and show the high level of commitment and talent that the club game has to offer.”
Commenting on the AIB Club International, Maurice Crowley, General Manager AIB, said: “At AIB, we are delighted as sponsors of the Club International and to be associated with this game.
“The AIB Club International is a great opportunity for both the players and the IRFU to showcase the club game at its highest level and last year’s thoroughly entertaining victory of Scotland demonstrated the level of quality that the AIB League has to offer.
“It’s a fantastic initiative for all club players and I am looking forward to the game, which will hopefully be the start of an excellent weekend of rugby for Ireland.”
The AIB Club International 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 Ireland squad, which consists of 17 players from Leinster clubs, 12 players from clubs in Munster, four players from Connacht and three from Ulster, will be reduced to a match squad of 22 players next Monday.
The team to play England will be confirmed in advance of the game.
AIB CLUB INTERNATIONAL SQUAD 2009:
FORWARDS (20) –
Colin Atkinson (Belfast Harlequins)
Ron Boucher (Lansdowne)
Kevin Croke (UCD)
Aaron Dundon (Clontarf)
Alex Dunlop (Terenure)
Martin Gately (Highfield)
Dave Harty (Dolphin)
Hugh Hogan (St. Mary’s College)
Neilus Keogh (UCC)
Richie Leyden (Old Belvedere)
Alan Maher (Lansdowne)
Brett McNamee (Dungannon)
Kevin Moran (Buccaneers)
Colm Murphy (Lansdowne)
Merle O’Connell (Cork Constitution)
Barry O’Mahony (Dolphin)
Robert Quinn (Lansdowne)
Simon Shawe (Ballymena)
Jamie Stephens (Galwegians)
Marc Warburton (Old Wesley)
BACKS (16) –
Tadhg Bennett (Shannon)
Philip Brophy (St. Mary’s College)
Darin Claasen (Corinthians)
Derek Corcoran (Young Munster)
Sam Cronin (UCC)
Ruairi Cushion (Old Belvedere)
Eamon Fitzgerald (Old Belvedere)
Darragh Fitzpatrick (Blackrock)
Alan Gaughan (Buccaneers)
Barry Keeshan (Dolphin)
Richie Lane (Cork Constitution)
Killian Lett (UCD)
Fionn McLoughlin (Shannon)
Niall O’Brien (Clontarf)
Breffni O’Donnell (Clontarf)
Ed Torrie (UL Bohemians)