The cream of Under-20 rugby talent across the four provinces will be on show at the Sportsground and the Mardyke this evening as the second round of the IRFU U-20 Interprovincial Championship takes place.
2015/16 IRFU UNDER-20 INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP:
ROUND 2 – Friday, September 11
CONNACHT U-20s (4th) v ULSTER U-20s (3rd), the Sportsground, 5pm
MUNSTER U-20s (2nd) v LEINSTER U-20s (1st), the Mardyke, 7.30pm
Connacht Under-20 head coach Mossy Lawler is hoping his charges can bounce back quickly following last week’s heavy defeat to a strong Leinster side. They host Ulster at the Sportsground in the second round.
In the pack, Lawler has brought in Ireland U-20 international Conan O’Donnell at loosehead prop for his first start since last summer’s World Rugby U-20 Championship. He replaces Matthew Murphy who drops to the bench, while Conor Kenny returns at tighthead after crying off during the warm-up at Donnybrook.
In the back-line, Daire Byrne comes in at inside centre to replace the benched Ryan Feehily, and Michael Boland starts on the right wing in place of the injured Andrew Lynch. Ryan Guilfoyle has been added to the bench.
There is one personnel change to the Ulster team as dynamic Rainey second row Ronan McCusker is elevated from the bench, taking over from Harry Cleland who makes way. Banbridge loose forward Ethan Harbinson, a member of RBAI’s Danske Bank Schools Cup-winning team last season, also comes into the matchday squad in place of Saul Herdman.
The Ulster U-20s were narrowly beaten 18-17 by Munster in their Interpro opener. They will once again look for big performances from Conor Kelly and Lewis McNamara, whose impressive displays in that game were rewarded with tries.
Ireland Under-20 hooker Adam McBurney will captain the province once more and he will be expecting Hughes Insurance Ulster Academy half-backs Liam Free and Andrew Magrath to dictate play, as they did for large parts of last Friday’s encounter at Queen’s Arena.
CONNACHT U-20: Tim Carroll (Corinthians); Michael Boland (UCC), Alan McMahon (Dungarvan), Daire Byrne (Sligo), Jack Keegan (Sligo); Simon Keller (Ballinasloe), Stephen Kerins (Sligo); Conan O’Donnell (Sligo), Caolan Maloney (Garryowen), Conor Kenny (Buccaneers), Cillian Gallagher (Sligo), Peter Claffey (NUIG), Matthew Burke (Galwegians), Gavin Croke (Old Belvedere), Matthew Cosgrove (Sligo).
Replacements: Conal Slater (Co. Carlow), Darog Smyth (Galwegians), Matthew Murphy (Tullamore), Cian Barry (Cork Constitution), Neilus Mulvihill (Unattached), Ryan Feehily (Sligo), Charlie McMicken (Buccaneers), Ryan Guilfoyle (Co. Cavan).
ULSTER U-20: Robert Lyttle (Queen’s University); Conor Kelly (Queen’s University), Alex Kane (Queen’s University), Kieran Joyce (Ballymena), Jonny Rosborough (Ballymena); Andrew Magrath (Ballymena), Liam Free (Queen’s University); Ben Halliday (Malone), Adam McBurney (Ballymena) (capt), Peter Cooper (Belfast Harlequins), Ronan McCusker (Rainey Old Boys), Hugh Sloan (Queen’s University), Conall Boomer (Belfast Harlequins), Lewis McNamara (Instonians), Matthew Fisher (Belfast Harlequins).
Replacements: Tristan King (Malone), Andrew Shaw (Rainey Old Boys), Rory Squires (City of Derry), Harry Cleland (Instonians), Ethan Harbinson (Banbridge), Chris Gibson (Ballynahinch), Matthew McDowell (Belfast Harlequins), Matthew Hooks (Armagh).
Munster U-20 boss Peter Malone has made one change to the forwards following the province’s hard-fought victory in Belfast. Cork Constitution’s Vincent O’Brien will start at hooker, with Shane Fenton from Young Munster dropping to the bench.
The starting back-line see captain Paul Kiernan (Cork Constitution) move to inside centre to take over from Jamie McAleese (Glenstal) who moves to the replacements. Shane Daly from PBC Cork comes into the starting line-up to claim the outside centre spot.
Meanwhile, the selected Leinster team for the top of the table clash in Cork shows four personnel changes from the 40-7 success against Connacht. Clontarf’s Conor O’Brien slots in at outside centre with Jack Power moving to full-back, Hugo Keenan stationed on the left wing and Terry Kennedy, the hat-trick hero last week, listed among the replacements.
James Bollard from Dublin University and Clongowes’ John Molony have been added to the front row, while fit-again captain James Ryan from Terenure College returns in the second row.
* Admission is €;5 for adults and €;3 for seniors/OAPs.
MUNSTER U-20: David O’Mahony (Young Munster); Colm Hogan (Glenstal Abbey School), Shane Daly (PBC Cork), Paul Kiernan (UCC) (capt), Lee Molloy (Rockwell College); Bill Johnston (Garryowen), John Poland (PBC Cork); Peter Meyer (Young Munster), Vincent O’Brien (Cork Constitution), Ben Betts (Young Munster), Sean O’Leary (Cork Constitution), Barra O’Byrne (Garryowen), Kelvin Browne (Shannon), Dan Walsh (Cork Constitution), John Foley (Shannon).
Replacements: Shane Fenton (Young Munster), Shane O’Hanlon (CBC Cork), Rob O’Donovan (Cork Constitution), Pat Staff (Young Munster), Evan Mintern (Cork Constitution), Tom McHale (Rockwell College), Jamie McAleese (Glenstal Abbey School), James O’Connor (Young Munster).
LEINSTER U-20: Jack Power (Dublin University); Matt Byrne (Terenure College), Conor O’Brien (Clontarf), Jimmy O’Brien (Newbridge College), Hugo Keenan (UCD); Tommy Whittle (Dublin University), Nick Peters (Gonzaga College); James Bollard (Dublin University), John Molony (Clongowes Wood College), Adam Coyle (Naas), Michael Melia (Terenure College), James Ryan (Terenure College) (capt), Will Connors (UCD), David Aspil (St. Mary’s College), Max Deegan (Lansdowne).
Replacements: Hugo Kean (St. Mary’s College), Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf), Greg McGrath (Lansdowne), Greg Jones (UCD), Neil Reilly (Clontarf), Rowan Osbourne (Clongowes Wood College), Matthew Gilsenan (UCD), Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College).
FIXTURES TO COME:
Friday, September 18 –
LEINSTER U-20s v ULSTER U-20s, Donnybrook, 7pm
CONNACHT U-20s v MUNSTER U-20s, venue & kick-off time tbc