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Scene Set For Start Of Junior Interpros

Scene Set For Start Of Junior Interpros

Leinster, captained by Boyne back rower Eoin Collins, went through last year’s IRFU Junior Interprovincial Championship unbeaten as they picked up their first title in five years. But who will reign supreme in 2009, will it be Connacht, Munster, Ulster or the defending champions?



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Munster v Leinster, Cashel RFC, 3pm
Connacht v Ulster, Ballyhaunis RFC, 2.30pm

2007/08 Championship Round-Up

Defending champions Leinster face a tough trip to Munster in the opening round of the 2008/09 Championship.

The Leinster team named for the game shows significant changes from last year’s victorious side with only six players retained from that clinching 16-13 win over Ulster nearly twelve months ago.

Leinster include nine new caps for the trip to Cashel. In the pack there are Stephen Verso (Seapoint), Ciaran Brannigan (Dundalk), Ronan Bolger (Tullow), Marcus Stewart (Monkstown), Nico Vorster (Boyne) and Donal Milne (Tullamore).

In the back-line, the newcomers are Kevin O’Brien and Daragh Fitzgerald (both Railway Union) and Darren Guest (Dundalk). There are also a number of potential new caps on the replacements bench.

Captained by Navan’s Bernard Smyth, the entire Leinster squad has representatives from 11 different clubs across the province.

Twelve clubs are represented in the Munster matchday squad. This will be a key game for Munster as their other games in the tournament are both away, to Ulster (May 2) and Connacht (May 9).

The Munster panel is being looked after this year by coaches Kevin O’Dwyer, John Lillis and Martin Brislane and team manager Tony Daly. Ger Luby of Kilfeacle is the captain and there are 16 new caps on board.

MUNSTER Squad: Backs – John Long (Clonmel), David Joyce (Clonmel), John O’Sullivan (Skibbereen), Rory Geary (Cobh Pirates), Eamon Ronan (Cobh Pirates), Brian Murphy (Ennis), David Murphy (Ennis), John Keehan (Kilfeacle), Andrew Cashman (Mallow), Adam O’Loughlin (Carrick on Suir), Shane Moloney (Thurles).

Forwards – Sean O’Neill (Skibbereen), Sean O’Mahoney (Tralee), Shane O’Callaghan (Tralee), Phil Corby (Clonmel), John Long (Clonmel), Donagh Murphy (Crosshaven), Paul Memory (Crosshaven), Barry Wright (Kinsale), Darren Gallagher (Richmond), Damien Gavin (Kilfeacle), Ger Luby (Kilfeacle) (capt), Stephan Flood (Kilfeacle), Cillian Casey (Cobh Pirates), JJ Frahill (Cobh Pirates), Stephan Ryan (St. Senan’s).

LEINSTER: Karl Manning (Navan); Stephen McGee (Dundalk), Darren Guest (Dundalk), Daragh Fitzgerald (Railway Union), Simon Donnelly (Navan); Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Richie Hughes (Tullamore); Eoin King (Navan), Stephen Verso (Seapoint), Ciaran Brannigan (Dundalk), Ronan Bolger (Tullow), Marcus Stewart (Monkstown), Nico Vorster (Boyne), Bernard Smyth (Navan) (capt), Donal Milne (Tullamore).

Replacements: James Clifford (Monkstown), Richie Bond (Portlaiose), Michael Cody (New Ross), Ross McAuley (Skerries), David Morris (Monkstown), Niall Kerbey (Boyne), David Quirke (Skerries).

Meanwhile, the Connacht Junior selectors have named a strong side for Saturday’s clash with Ulster this Saturday.

The match coincides with the official opening of Ballyhaunis RFC’s new clubhouse the same afternoon, so a big crowd is expected at the Mayo venue.

Connacht coaches Seamus King and Eddie Walsh have looked at over 100 players since training began last November and the squad for Saturday’s opener have been selected following a series of trials and challenge games.

The team has representatives from most of the top Junior teams in Connacht, including Monivea, who recently took part in the AIB League Qualifying Round Robin Series.

The team will be captained by Kevin Higgins from Monivea who has the experience of multiple interpro campaigns down the years.

Manager Mick Turley believes that the ‘strength in depth of the squad’ gives them a real chance of success and the focus is on taking Ulster’s scalp to kickstart the campaign.

Ruled out of consideration for selection due to injury were Monivea’s Fergus Farrell and Pat Devane, and also Corrib pair Tomas Lee and Dara Higgins.

Meanwhile, Ulster coaches Glen Kyle and Brian Wilson have spent the past six weeks working with their squad, which sees eight members returning from last year’s playing panel.

Players have been selected from nine Ulster Kukri Qualifying League Division 1 and 2 clubs, with some exciting new faces, including Adam Bartholomew who will captain the side from scrum half.

No players from the City of Derry team were considered for this match due to their involvement in Saturday’s AIB League promotion-relegation play-off against Sunday’s Well at Musgrave Park.

CONNACHT: Kevin Higgins (Monivea) (capt); Kevin Corcoran (Westport), Dave Prior (OLBC), Paul Cody (Castlebar), Ger Divilly (Monivea); Ger O’Connor (Monivea), Mike Murphy (Ballina); Alan Bane (Corrib), Martin Lee (Corrib), Tom Toolan (Ballina), Willie Parker (Monivea), Brian Murphy (Loughrea), Enda Murphy (Castlebar), Ger Kelly (Dunmore), Eoin Rooney (Monivea).

Replacments: Pat Mullins (Loughrea), Liam Molloy (Castlebar), Mike Ward (Tuam), Luke Murphy (NUIG), Mark Staunton (Castlebar), Danny O’Toole (Westport), Robbie Kavanagh (Tuam), Eoin Cosgrove (Tuam).

ULSTER: Johnny Steenson (Armagh); Johnny Allen (Armagh), Richard Kindred (Lisburn), Ethan Allen (Armagh), James Clellend (Ballymoney); John Semple (Limavady), Adam Bartholomew (Armagh) (capt); James Carson (Limavady), James Johnston (Armagh), Phil Moore (Clogher Valley), David Sharkey (Clogher Valley), Addy Graham (Ballymoney), Willie McCollum (Limavady), Stephen Dickey (Coleraine), James Morton (Armagh). 

Replacements: Gavin Armstrong (Lisburn), Gareth Beattie (Enniskillen), Johnny Keith (Cooke), Barry John Wilson (Clogher Valley), Johnny Hunter (Limavady), Michael McComb (CIYMS), Eddie McLaughlin (Limavady).