Leinster Rugby have finalised the make-up of their Academy panel for the 2013/14 season, with Academy manager Girvan Dempsey, the former Leinster and Ireland full-back, overseeing the day-to-day running of the Academy.
Academy graduates Darren Hudson, Ben Marshall, Martin Moore, Jordi Murphy, Jack O’Connell and Noel Reid have all signed their first professional contracts with the Leinster senior squad, while eight players will also be entering the third and final year of their respective Academy programme.
In all there are six additions to the panel for the forthcoming season – Old Belvedere and Ireland Under-20 out-half Steve Crosbie will be joined by two more current Ireland U-20 internationals, goal-kicking centre Thomas Daly and loosehead prop Peter Dooley who hails from Birr, County Offaly.
St. Michael’s College SCT captain and Ireland Under-19 second row Ross Molony is joined by another Schools player, Terenure College full-back and Ireland Under-18 Schools international Billy Dardis.
Ex-CBS Naas and current UCD back-three player Adam Byrne, who featured in the recent British & Irish Cup semi-final at outside centre, joined the Academy in January and he will start his Academy programme.
The incoming trio of Byrne, Daly and Dooley have all enjoyed strong campaigns with their respective clubs and are products of the Leinster Youths system.
Following a lengthy injury, Sam Coghlan Murray has also extended his stay in the Academy by a year. Unfortunately David Doyle has had to retire from the Academy due to an on-going injury.
The Academy programme is set out over three years where all of the players will aim to ultimately earn a professional contract.
Amongst the most recent graduates are Andrew Conway, Brendan Macken and Jack McGrath who have all gone on to feature for the province’s senior side of late.
Other past graduates from the Leinster Academy system include the likes of Ireland internationals Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Rhys Ruddock, Jonathan Sexton and Devin Toner.
In addition to each Academy player’s third level commitments, they will also complete a supplementary HETAC (Higher Education & Training Awards Council) course covering modules such as: Rugby, Community, Fitness, Psychology, Lifestyle and Media.
LEINSTER ACADEMY – 2013/14 SEASON:
Year 1: Adam Byrne, Steve Crosbie, Thomas Daly, Billy Dardis, Peter Dooley, Ross Molony
Year 2: Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Dan Leavy, Cathal Marsh, Gavin Thornbury, Josh van der Flier
Year 3: Andrew Boyle, Jordan Coghlan, Sam Coghlan Murray, Tadhg Furlong, Conor Gilsenan, Luke McGrath, Colm O’Shea, James Tracy