Number 8 Lorcan Dow will captain the Ireland Under-19 team, sponsored by PwC, for the first of their two clashes with France Under-19s at Templeville Road on Thursday (kick-off 2pm).
Head coach Colin McEntee’s selected side includes five players who have been capped for the Ireland Under-20s this season – centres Garry Ringrose and Harrison Brewer, scrum half Jack Cullen and front rowers Sean McNulty and Oisin Heffernan.
Billy Dardis, Ciaran Gaffney, who played in Galwegians’ Division 2A title-winning campaign, and Jack Owens feature in the back-three with Cullen joined at half-back by talented Corinthians number 10 Sean O’Hagan.
Jeremy Loughman, a Leinster Senior Schools Cup winner with Blackrock College last month, links up with hooker McNulty and Heffernan in an unchanged front row.
UCD’s Josh Murphy moves from the back row to the second row where he partners Alex Thompson, a member of Methody’s recent Ulster Senior Schools Cup-winning side.
Lorcan Dow, who played for the Ulster Ravens against Leinster ‘A’ last month, will captain Ireland from the number 8 position with schools players Stephen McVeigh and Ben Kilkenny filling the flanker berths.
In all, there are four personnel changes to the Ireland team that lost 14-8 to the Australian Schools side at Ravenhill December.
Brewer and O’Hagan come in for Conor McKee and Ross Byrne in the back-line, while McVeigh and Kilkenny – a nephew of former Ireland captain Keith Wood – are the two new inclusions in the pack.
The Irish replacements bench is packed with players who lined out in Schools Cup deciders this season, including Ulster Schools Cup-winning captain Michael Lagan and his Methody team-mates Steven Weir and Josh Bingham.
Ireland and France meet at the home ground of St. Mary’s College RFC on Thursday afternoon, with the second game also getting underway at 2pm five days later on Tuesday, April 22.
Head coach McEntee is assisted by Nigel Carolan and Barney McGonigle is managing the squad.
IRELAND UNDER-19 Team & Replacements (v France, Under-19 International Match, Templeville Road, Thursday, April 17, kick-off 2pm):
15. Billy Dardis (UCD/Leinster)
14. Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht)
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
12. Harrison Brewer (Terenure College/Leinster)
11. Jack Owens (Campbell College/Ulster)
10. Sean O’Hagan (Corinthians/Connacht)
9. Jack Cullen (Bruff/Munster)
1. Jeremy Loughman (Blackrock College/Leinster)
2. Sean McNulty (UCD/Munster)
3. Oisin Heffernan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
4. Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster)
5. Alex Thompson (Methodist College/Ulster)
6. Stephen McVeigh (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
7. Ben Kilkenny (St. Munchin’s College/Munster)
8. Lorcan Dow (Queen’s University/Ulster) (capt)
16. Steven Weir (Methodist College/Ulster)
17. Michael Lagan (Methodist College/Ulster)
18. Mike O’Donnell (Crescent College Comprehensive/Munster)
19. Josh Davidson (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)
20. Ross Todd (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)
21. Conor Young (Instonians/Ulster)
22. Josh Bingham (Methodist College/Ulster)
23. Fergal Cleary (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
Ireland Under-19 Management Team:
Head Coach: Colin McEntee
Assistant Coach: Nigel Carolan
Scrum Coach: Conor Twomey
Team Manager: Barney McGonigle
Doctor: Tim O’Flanagan
Video Analyst: Vinny Hammond
Logistics Manager: Pat Downey
Kit Manager: Philip Keeley
Physio: Barry Smith
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Declan Browne
Squad Co-ordinator: Jessica Quigley
Ireland Under-19 Fixtures –
IRELAND UNDER-19s v France U-19s
Thursday, April 17, kick-off 2pm
St Mary’s College RFC, Templeville Road
IRELAND UNDER-19s v France U-19s
Tuesday, April 22, kick-off 2pm
St. Mary’s College RFC, Templeville Road