Following the Grand Slam success of the Ireland senior squad last weekend, the next Ireland team to take the field will be the Ireland Under-18 Clubs players who will participate in the 2009 FIRA/AER Under-18 European Championships in France from April 2 to 12.
Coach Greg Lynch and team manager Willie Gribben have selected a 26-man squad for a tournament in which Ireland have reached the final in both of the last two years.
The squad was chosen after a lengthy selection process which included the Under-18 Clubs interprovincials, the Irish Exiles (who play two matches against the provinces in August) and the review of training camps and matches.
To date, 55 players have attended training camps where they develop their skills and understanding of the game under the expertise provided by the team coaches, the fitness coach, medical staff and the video analyst.
This year’s FIRA/AER Under-18 European Championships, which involves 32 European nations divided into four divisions, will be held in the Cote d’Azure in France.
On the basis of last year’s performances in the tournament, the top division features (in order of seeding): France, Ireland, England, Italy, Romania, Georgia, Russia and Belgium.
Ireland will face seventh seeds Russia in their first match on Sunday, April 5, with the winners of that tie playing the winners of the England v Georgia match on Wednesday, April 8.
Finals day will be staged at the Stade Mayol, home of Toulon Rugby Club, on Saturday, April 11.
IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUBS Squad (FIRA/AER Under-18 European Championships, Cote d’Azure, France, April 2-12):
Callum Boland (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Andrew Boyle (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Callum Burke (Hampton School/London Wasps/Exiles)
Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Aaron Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht)
Grant Connon (Austin Friars St. Monica’s/Newcastle Falcons/Exiles)
Jake Considine (Young Munster/Munster)
Rory Cunningham (Galwegians/Connacht)
Paul Dean (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Mark Dolan (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Eddie Downes (Wicklow/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (New Ross/Leinster)
Dominic Gallagher (Lisburn/Ulster)
Robbie Holt (Edenderry/Leinster)
Michael Kearney (Clontarf /Leinster)
David Lynch (Naas/Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Kirkham GS/Exiles)
Nathaniel McDonald (Worcester Warriors/Exiles)
Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht)
Jonathan Murphy (Banbridge/Ulster)
Luke Murphy Wooldridge (St. Olave’s School/Exiles)
Luke O’Keeffe (London Wasps/Exiles)
Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Michael Sherlock (Skerries/Leinster)
Connor Smyth (Coleraine/Ulster)
John Sutton (New Ross/Leinster)
For more information on the tournament and to keep up-to-date with all the news from the squad, check out our dedicated tournament page – click here.