Ireland will play France in an age grade double header at St. Mary’s College RFC’s Templeville Road ground on Thursday as the Under-18 Clubs side and the Under-19s take an important step in the development of young players.
The first game sees an Ireland Under-18 Clubs side take on a similar French selection. The Ireland team may be shallow on experience at this level, but will be able to call on two players who were part of the side last year, prop Peter Dooley and centre Adam Byrne.
The side will be captained by Jack O’Donoghue and coached by Wayne Mitchell, who has been involved with the team as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.
This will be the Under-18 Clubs team’s second game of the season, after losing their first to Italy (17-11) in a tight encounter in Rovigo in February.
The Ireland Under-19 team will be playing their first game of the season on Thursday and will be captained by Conor Joyce and coached by Colin McEntee.
The side is made up of a mixture of players from both the schools and club teams and is seen as an important bridge between the Under-18 and Under-20 age groups to aid the identification of promising young players to the highest international level.
Both teams will also play a second game against their English counterparts on Saturday April 14.
They are part of the IRFU High Performance pathway along with the Ireland Under-18 Schools side which is also playing France this evening in the FIRA/AER U-18 European Championship in Madrid.
IRELAND UNDER-18 CLUBS Team & Replacements (v France Under-18 Clubs, Thursday, April 5, St. Mary’s College RFC, kick-off 12pm):
15 – Rueben Pepper-Hobbs (Westport/Connacht)
14 – Adrian Enright (Abbeyfeale/Munster)
13 – Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
12 – Sean O’Hagan (London Irish/Exiles)
11 – Seamus Keating (Dungarvan/Munster)
10 – Fergal Cleary (Navan/Leinster)
9 – Killian O’Keeffe (Crosshaven/Munster)
1 – Peter Dooley (Birr/Leinster)
2 – Paul O’Donnell (Galwegians/Connacht)
3 – Jacob Walshe (Garbally/Ballinasloe/Connacht)
4 – Russell Blair (Ballymoney/Ulster)
5 – John Madigan (Charleville/Munster)
6 – Killian Sweeney (Malahide/Leinster)
7 – Joseph Bercis (Rugby Lions/Exiles)
8 – Jack O’Donoghue (Waterpark/Munster) (capt)
16 – Brian Cunningham (Navan/Leinster)
17 – Stephen Dalton (Westcombe Park/Ravens Wood Rugby Academy/Exiles)
18 – Scott Flanagan (Buccaneers/Connacht)
19 – Luke Connolly (Glamorgan Wanderers/Exiles)
20 – Francis Taggart (Whitgift School/Exiles)
21 – Caolin Blade (Monivea/Connacht)
22 – Jim White (Enniscorthy/Leinster)
23 – Eoghan O’Reilly (Buccaneers/Connacht)
IRELAND UNDER-19 Team & Replacements (v France Under-19s, Thursday, April 5, St. Mary’s College RFC, kick-off 2pm):
15 – Darragh Leader (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
14 – Max McFarland (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
13 – Tom Farrell (Castleknock College/Leinster)
12 – Thomas Daly (Carlow RFC/Leinster)
11 – Rory Scholes (Belfast Harlequins RFC/Ulster)
10 – Steve Crosbie (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
9 – Dave Shanahan (Clontarf RFC/Leinster)
1 – Edward Byrne (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
2 – Bryan Byrne (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
3 – Jamie Dever (Westport RFC/Connacht)
4 – Ultan Dillane (Tralee RFC/Munster)
5 – Gavin Thornbury (Blackrock College/Leinster)
6 – Conor Joyce (Malone RFC/Ulster) (capt)
7 – Josh van der Flier (UCD RFC/Leinster)
8 – Ryan Murphy (Dolphin RFC/Munster)
16 – John Andrew (Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
17 – Niall Horan (Crescent College/Munster)
18 – Christopher Taylor (Malone RFC/Ulster)
19 – Sean McCarthy (Rockwell College/Munster)
20 – Donagh Lawler (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
21 – Barry Digby (Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
22 – Harry McNulty (Dublin University RFC/Munster)
23 – Eoghan Quinn (Castleknock College/Leinster)