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Dempsey To Start For Leinster In Cup Clash

Dempsey To Start For Leinster In Cup Clash

The Leinster team to face the Cornish Pirates in Friday’s British & Irish Cup clash at Donnybrook (kick-off 4pm) has been named.

Girvan Dempsey starts at full-back in a back-line which shows just one change from the team that started last weekend’s 16-13 victory in Plymouth.

Shaun Berne, who kicked 11 points in that win, continues his centre partnership with Brendan Macken, and David Kearney and Michael Keating have retained their starting places on the wings.

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In the pack there is a first start for hooker Richardt Strauss after making his Leinster debut as a replacement last weekend.

Strauss is named in an experienced pack which is bolstered by Kevin McLaughlin and Devin Toner who are back on provincial duty after impressing for Ireland ‘A’ in their recent win over Tonga.

Paul Ryan comes into the back row to partner Stephen Keogh and McLaughlin.

Meanwhile, Niall Morris and Dominic Ryan have been named on a strong replacements bench which includes Mark Flanagan, a first cousin of Devin Toner.

In all, there are nine Leinster Academy players in the squad as well as six recent graduates.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s game, young prop Jack McGrath, one of the Leinster Academy players, said: “We’ve analysed a good few of the Pirates’ recent games and they’re an accomplished side with a lot of experience.

“We’re expecting much of the same as last weekend’s game and it won’t be a walk in the park.

“They’re a direct side with a big group of forwards and it will be a test for us, but to be honest the players are delighted to be playing games like these because it gives us all an opportunity to impress.”

“The environment (at Leinster) is competitive and it’s a big step up, but it’s what you relish,” added the Ireland Under-20 international.

“I hope that we can get a good crowd down to Donnybrook on Friday because, irrespective of the weather, the surface is excellent. All the players are looking forward to the game and hopefully we can keep up our good run of form.”

*There will be free entry to Friday’s game for Leinster Season Ticket holders upon presentation of this year’s membership card, while members of UCD’s C & E (Commerce and Economics) Society can also avail of discount entry. Entrance on Friday is €;5 (school-children) and €;10 (adult).

LEINSTER (v Cornish Pirates): Girvan Dempsey; Michael Keating, Brendan Macken, Shaun Berne, David Kearney; Ian McKinley, Paul O’Donohoe (capt); Ronan McCormack, Richardt Strauss, Jack McGrath, Trevor Hogan, Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Paul Ryan, Stephen Keogh.

Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Stewart Maguire, Mark Flanagan, Dominic Ryan, Simon Keogh, Eoin O’Malley, Niall Morris.