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British & Irish Cup Final Preview: Leinster ‘A’ v Leeds Carnegie

British & Irish Cup Final Preview: Leinster ‘A’ v Leeds Carnegie

The Setanta Ireland cameras will be at Donnybrook tonight as Leinster ‘A’ attempt to become the first team to successfully defend the British & Irish Cup – Leeds Carnegie are the only side left standing in their way.


LEINSTER ‘A’ v LEEDS CARNEGIE, Donnybrook, 7pm (live Setanta Ireland/www.rfu.com)

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Team News: The Leinster ‘A’ team has been announced for Friday night’s British & Irish Cup final against Leeds Carnegie at Donnybrook.

Head coach Girvan Dempsey has made some positional and personnel changes to the side that overcame Pontypridd away at the semi-final stage.

Darragh Fanning will start on the left wing against Leeds Carnegie, returning to play for Leinster ‘A’ for the first time since the pool win over Moseley at Donnybrook back in January.

Brendan Macken moves to outside centre with Noel Reid alongside him in midfield, which means Collie O’Shea drops back to the replacements.

In the front row, prop Jack O’Connell comes in to start in place of Ed Byrne, who is named on the bench. Ben Marshall will play in the second row alongside Quinn Roux, which means Leo Auva’a comes in to start in the back row, flanked by Jack Conan and captain Dominic Ryan.

Tickets for the match are on sale online here, or can be purchased at the gate on the night – Adult Terrace/Stand – €;15/€;20; Under-18s Terrace/Stand – €;5/€;10; Family Terrace/Stand – €;35/€;50.

The final will be broadcast live on Setanta Ireland on Friday night (coverage begins at 6.55pm), with a live stream also available on www.rfu.com.

Meanwhile, Leeds Carnegie boss James Lowes has named a strong line-up for the trip to Dublin as Leeds look to end the season on a high.

Following their Championship semi-final defeat to London Welsh last Sunday, the decision was taken to name the strongest possible side for the British & Irish Cup decider and ten of the team that started at Oxford return to action five days later. 

Skipper Jacob Rowan will make his final appearance for the club before following fellow team-mate Stevie McColl to Gloucester next season.

Jonah Holmes and David Sisi will both return to Wasps and Bath respectively after the game, while Jonny Bentley, James Doherty and Calum Green will also all play their final games for the club before moving on in the summer.

LEINSTER ‘A’: Darren Hudson; Sam Coghlan Murray, Brendan Macken, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Cathal Marsh, Luke McGrath; Jack O’Connell, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong, Ben Marshall, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Dominic Ryan (capt), Leo Auva’a.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Ross Molony, Josh van der Flier, John Cooney, Collie O’Shea, Andrew Boyle.

LEEDS CARNEGIE: Stevie McColl; Jonah Holmes, Jon Clarke, Fred Burdon, David Doherty; Jonny Bentley, James Doherty; Charlie Beech, Joe Graham, Damien Tussac, Calum Green, Mike Myerscough, David Sisi, Chris Walker, Jacob Rowan (capt).

Replacements (from): Phil Nilsen, Lee Imiolek, Ben Hooper, Matt Smith, Richard Beck, Christian Georgiou, Joe Barker, Glyn Hughes.

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster ‘A’ to win: 4/11; Draw: 22/1; Leeds Carnegie to win: 15/8

Pre-Match Quotes: Dominic Ryan (Leinster ‘A’) – “It means a lot to me (to captain the ‘A’ team), and being a younger player and seeing it meaning something to one of the older squad members does mean a lot and it can really encourage younger guys.

“This is the highest grade that the youngest guys will have played to. So if that doesn’t get them going for it, I don’t know what will.

“We played them (Leeds Carnegie) last year in a group game. It was 30-30, in the snow, on an astro-turf pitch that the game should never have been played on.

“They were good that day, they were physical. Particularly this year, they like to throw the ball around. That can work in our favour or that can work against us.

“We fought hard against Ponty away (in the semi-final), played 100 minutes. We’ve grown as a team, I think we all work well together, particularly with Marshy (Cathal Marsh) running us at 10.

“It’s definitely something I feel very passionate about. Some people might think ‘it’s only the B&I Cup’ but it’s our team’s to win. We won it last year away in Newcastle and we want to do it back-to-back.”

Joe Barker (Leeds Carnegie) – “Obviously the squad were upset after the defeat in the play-offs last Sunday, but the team have come back in to training and have the mind-set that we will finish the season strong, with a good performance and hopefully with some silverware.

“It is a great achievement for the team to have made it through to the final and I have enjoyed being part of it this season.

“It is only the club’s third ever final so there is a chance for us to make some history and it will be a special occasion and I am pleased to play my part in it.”

Top Scorers – 2013/14 British & Irish Cup: Leinster ‘A’ – Points: Cathal Marsh 100; Tries: Leo Auva’a, Darragh Fanning, Andrew Boyle 3 each; Leeds Carnegie – Points: Glyn Hughes 63; Tries: David Doherty 6


LEINSTER ‘A’ – Pld 8, W8, D0, L0 – Pool 1: Won 49-8 at home to Ealing Trailfinders; Won 24-22 away to Moseley; Won 31-0 at home to Cross Keys; Won 30-14 away to Cross Keys; Won 23-13 at home to Moseley; Won 14-13 away to Ealing Trailfinders; Quarter-final: Won 47-15 at home to Munster ‘A’; Semi-final: Won 22-22 away to Pontypridd (3-1 try count)

LEEDS CARNEGIE – Pld 8, W7, D0, L1 – Pool 5: Lost 21-17 away to Bristol; Won 86-8 at home to Gala; Won 41-22 away to Aberavon; Won 72-0 at home to Aberavon; Won 29-7 away to Gala; Won 24-19 at home to Bristol; Quarter-final: Won 41-21 at home to Plymouth Albion; Semi-final: Won 30-25 away to Bristol


Saturday, October 13, 2012 – Pool 5 – Leinster ‘A’ 47 Leeds Carnegie 18, Donnybrook
Saturday, January 19, 2013 – Pool 5 – Leeds Carnegie 30 Leinster ‘A’ 30, West Park Leeds RUFC


– Leinster ‘A’ are the reigning British & Irish Cup champions having beaten Newcastle Falcons 18-17 after extra-time in last year’s final. They have won all eight of their games to date in this season’s competition

– This is Leeds Carnegie’s third final appearance in the club’s history. They topped Pool 5 and finished as the top scorers in the pool stages with 269 points and 40 tries scored in six games

– Leinster ‘A’ out-half Cathal Marsh is the top points scorer in this season’s British & Irish Cup with 100 points. He scored 27 points, including two tries, in the province’s quarter-final defeat of Munster ‘A’ at Donnybrook

– Leeds Carnegie will be playing their 635th and final game on Friday night before the club changes its name to ‘Yorkshire Carnegie’ next season

– Leinster ‘A’ played Leeds on their way to British & Irish Cup glory last year, winning their home tie 47-18 before the sides fought out a 30-30 draw in the return leg on the artificial surface at West Park Leeds RUFC after snow had threatened to see the game called off