Jump to main content


O’Callaghan Captains Munster For Season Opener

O’Callaghan Captains Munster For Season Opener

Head Coach Anthony Foley has named an extended squad of 26 players for his first game in charge of the province – a preseason friendly away to Gloucester this Saturday at 3pm.

A total of 11 players are in line to make their senior debuts in the red of Munster while captain Donncha O’Callaghan and BJ Botha will bring experience to a largely emerging and experimental team.

In the front row Alan Cotter and Botha pack down on either side of Ger Slattery. The Young Munster club player made his competitive debut for Munster against Connacht in December 2013 and claimed his first points when scoring two tries against Zebre the following February.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Donncha O’Callaghan, Munster’s most capped player, will captain the squad and he lines out next to Greencore Munster Academy player Sean McCarthy in the second row.

An all senior back-row sees last year’s Academy Player of the Year Shane Buckley start at 6, Barry O’Mahony at openside and CJ Stander at 8. Buckley moved to a development contract this season and will be familiar with this weekend’s opposition after featuring against Gloucester in the 2013.

Scrum-half Duncan Williams will partner his Cork Constitution team mate Johnny Holland in the half backs. Another product of the Munster academy, Holland advanced to a development contract for the 2014/15 season and featured for Munster in last season’s series and PRO12.

The centre partnership sees Ivan Dineen and Cian Bohane start while the attacking back three features more of Munster 7’s representatives.

Academy player Darren Sweetnam makes his first Munster senior appearance on the left wing, with Limerick flyer Ronan O’Mahony on the opposite flank and new academy recruit Stephen Fitzgerald starts at fullback.

At 18 years of age Fitzgerald represented Ardscoil Rís in the 2014 SEAT Munster Schools Senior Cup Final in March and most recently impressed at the 7s tournament.

An extended bench will lend itself to experimentation on the part of Anthony Foley with most, if not all, likely to see some game time.

There is a welcome return for Cathal Sheridan who is included in a match-day squad for the first time since breaking a bone in his arm against Ospreys in February.

Front row cover is provided by academy prop Niall Horan, John Ryan and UL Boh’s hooker Kevin O’Byrne who joined the province this summer on a training contract.

Horan is in his second year of the academy and with two B&I Cup appearances under his belt will hope to make his first senior appearance this weekend in addition to O’Byrne who has featured in A Interpro and Development squads previously.

Academy players John Madigan, Ryan Murphy, David Johnston, Rory Scannell, Ryan Foley and Greg O’Shea are all in line to feature as they are named in the replacements with sub-academy centre Ned Hodson also included after his recent performances for the Munster 7s squad.

Munster: Stephen Fitzgerald; Ronan O’Mahony, Cian Bohane, Ivan Dineen, Darren Sweetnam; Johnny Holland, Duncan Williams; Alan Cotter, Ger Slattery, BJ Botha; Donncha O’Callaghan Capt., Sean McCarthy; Shane Buckley, Barry O’Mahony, CJ Stander.

Replacements from: Niall Horan, Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan, John Madigan, Ryan Murphy, Cathal Sheridan, David Johnston, Ned Hodson, Rory Scannell, Ryan Foley, Greg O’Shea.