The Ulster Bank Club International team to play the Scotland Club side at Netherdale on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm) has been named.
The team, which is coached by Clonakilty’s David O’Mahony, contains five new caps in the starting line-up and will be captained by Cork Constitution back rower Frank Cogan.
Barry Keeshan, consistently one of the highest points scorers in the Ulster Bank League, will start at out-half and is partnered by Matt D’Arcy from St. Mary’s College, who wins his first cap at this level.
Evan Ryan of Clontarf and Dolphin’s Eric Moloney will form an experienced centre partnership, while Old Belvedere’s try machine David Mongan earns his first cap with Galwegians’ John Cleary on the wings. John O’Brien of Buccaneers is another new cap at full-back.
Up front, Richie Sweeney is rewarded for his good form for St. Mary’s College with a start at hooker, and John Ryan of UCC and Christy Condon of Dolphin complete the front row.
Philip Donnellan of UCC and Clontarf’s Simon Crawford will combine in the second row, and the back row is a highly experienced unit with former Club International captain Hugh Hogan packing down alongside Barry O’Mahony and current skipper Frank Cogan.
This is the fifth season of the Club International match between Ireland and Scotland and as it stands, both teams have two wins at home.
There is free admission for Friday’s clash at Netherdale, and a trophy is on the line for the first time in the form of the Dalriada Cup.
The Dalriada Cup was borne out of the additional significance for the sponsor which, through the Irish arm of RBS (Ulster Bank), will have a foot in both camps when the sides meet at the home of Gala RFC.
Staff from both RBS and Ulster Bank were invited to the submit names for the Cup with Dalriada, which in Gaelic translates as Earra Ghaidheal, ‘the boundary of the Gaels’, proving to be the most popular.
Dalriada was a sixth and early seventh century Gaelic kingdom that spanned the western coast of Scotland (which roughly covered Argyll & Bute and Lochaber) and the northern coasts of Ireland (County Antrim).
After their trip to Scotland, the Ireland Club side will face England Counties at Anglesea Road on Friday week (kick-off 5.30pm).
ULSTER BANK CLUB INTERNATIONAL Team & Replacements (v Scotland Club XV, Netherdale, Galashiels, Friday, March 11, kick-off 7.30pm):
15. John O’Brien (Buccaneers) *
14. John Cleary (Galwegians)
13. Eric Moloney (Dolphin)
12. Evan Ryan (Clontarf)
11. David Mongan (Old Belvedere) *
10. Barry Keeshan (Dolphin)
9. Matt D’Arcy (St. Mary’s College) *
1. John Ryan (UCC)
2. Richie Sweeney (St. Mary’s College) *
3. Christy Condon (Dolphin)
4. Philip Donnellan (UCC) *
5. Simon Crawford (Clontarf)
6. Hugh Hogan (St. Mary’s College)
7. Barry O’Mahony (Clontarf)
8. Frank Cogan (Cork Constitution) (capt)
16. Ciaran Kavanagh (Clontarf) *
17. Ger Slattery (Young Munster)
18. Liam Og Murphy (Young Munster) *
19. Damian Hall (St. Mary’s College) *
20. Gerry Hurley (Cork Constitution)
21. Alan Kingsley (Young Munster)
22. Stuart Morrow (Ballynahinch) *
* Denotes uncapped player at this level
Ireland Management Team:
David O’Mahony – Head Coach
Pat McHale – Team Manager
Andy Wood – Assistant Coach
Eugene McEntegart – Strength & Conditioning Coach
William Duggan – Doctor
Ailbe McCormack – Doctor
Pat Downey/Jim Barden – Bagmen