Connacht Eagles will play Cornish Pirates at Mennaye Field on Saturday (kick-off 2pm) in their final British & Irish Cup game this season. Head coach Mossy Lawler has named his side for the trip to Cornwall, making eight changes compared to last week’s selection.
Eoghan Masterson makes a welcome return to provincial action, starting in an all-changed back row alongside Marc Kelly and James Connolly. This is the first game back for the 23-year-old Masterson in almost a year having recovered from a significant knee injury sustained while on PRO12 duty last February.
Also returning from long term injury is Academy prop Jamie Dever who will start in the front row for his first game in 26 months, while Ireland Under-20 lock Peter Claffey is named on the bench having last played 10 months ago.
There are further changes to the pack with senior hooker Shane Delahunt adding his experience up front and Academy lock Cian Romaine joining captain Daniel Qualter in the second row. Academy duo Stephen Kerins and Ed O’Keeffe are the only changes to a youthful back-line.
Connacht Eagles head coach Mossy Lawler commented: “It’s great to see some players coming back from long-term injury and getting a chance to play before we conclude our B&I Cup campaign.
“Naturally we are not happy with our results in the competition this season but we do see the value in testing our young players in high pressure games and against quality opposition. It’s all part of their development and tomorrow’s game will be another big challenge and learning experience for them. Of course, we will be hoping to put in a winning performance to sign off our B&I Cup season.”
CONNACHT EAGLES (v Cornish Pirates): Matthew Byrne (Galwegians); Ed O’Keeffe (Galwegians), Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians), Kieran Joyce (Malone), Adam Leavy (Galwegians); Luke Carty (Buccaneers), Stephen Kerins (Corinthians); Jamie Dever (Corinthians), Shane Delahunt (Buccaneers), Dominic Robertson-McCoy (Galwegians), Cian Romaine (Buccaneers), Daniel Qualter (Buccaneers) (capt), Marc Kelly (Galwegians), James Connolly (Corinthians), Eoghan Masterson (Corinthians).
Replacements: Jack Dinneen (Galwegians), Saba Meunargia (Buccaneers), Peter Claffey (Galwegians), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers), Conor Lowndes (Buccaneers), Morgan Codyre (Galwegians), Joe Murphy (Corinthians).