The Ireland Under-20 squad, sponsored by PwC, has been named by head coach Nigel Carolan for the opening rounds of the Under-20 Six Nations Championship.
The 32-man squad features three players from last year’s campaign. In the forwards, Corinthians and Connacht lock Cillian Gallagher and Shannon and Munster back rower John Foley return for their second U-20 Six Nations Championship, as does Ballynahinch and Ulster out-half Johnny McPhillips.
Jack Kelly of Dublin University and Leinster, a regular starter for the student club in Ulster Bank League Division 1A, has been named as captain.
Speaking about selecting the squad, Nigel Carolan said: “As is the nature of Under-20 rugby, we have a new-look squad this season, with just a few of last year’s players returning, so it will be a new and exciting challenge for both the players and management.
“We had a number of camps before Christmas and the attitude and enthusiasm that the players brought with them to these camps has been extremely positive.
“While international rugby at Under-20 level will be new to the most of these players, the majority of them have all come through the IRFU Player Pathway and will have worn the green jersey at Under-18 and Under-19 levels.
“Several of the squad have also gotten good game-time with their provincial ‘A’ teams in the British & Irish Cup this season, so that should stand to them.
“The U-20 Six Nations Championship is always an exciting competition, but we’ll be taking it one game at a time and we’re looking forward to getting things underway against Scotland on Friday week.”
Commenting at the announcement of the PwC-sponsored U-20 squad, Feargal O’Rourke, Managing Partner, PwC, said: “We, in PwC, are very committed to supporting Irish Rugby principally through our sponsorship of the Under-20 team and we wish them every success for 2017 and in their upcoming Six Nations Championship campaign.”
The Ireland Under-20s will open their Six Nations campaign against Scotland on Friday, February 3 at Broadwood Stadium in Glasgow (kick-off 8.30pm). They will then travel to Prato to play Italy on Friday, February 10, with a 7pm kick-off (local time).
Carolan’s charges will then play their first home game of the Championship against France at Donnybrook Stadium on Friday, February 24.
They will face Wales on Saturday, March 11 in Colwyn Bay in northern Wales and will finish off the Championship on St. Patrick’s Day against England in Donnybrook, in what will be a double header with the Ireland Women.
Tickets for the Ireland Under-20s’ home matches in Donnybrook, which will again be sponsored by Electric Ireland, are available now via www.ticketmaster.ie.
IRELAND UNDER-20 Squad (2017 Under-20 Six Nations Championship):
Rory Butler (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Peadar Collins (Garryowen/Munster)
Liam Coombes (Garryowen/Munster)
Conor Dean (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Conor Fitzgerald (Shannon/Munster)
Colm Hogan (Dublin University/Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University/Leinster) (capt)
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Jack Lyons (Young Munster/Munster)
Robert Lyttle (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Johnny McPhillips (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Gavin Mullin (UCD/Leinster)
Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)
Tommy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
Jonny Stewart (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Paul Boyle (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Charlie Connolly (Dublin University/Leinster)
Joey Conway (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Gavin Coombes (Young Munster/Munster)
Peter Cooper (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne/Leinster)
John Foley (Shannon/Munster)
Cillian Gallagher (Corinthians/Connacht)
Ronan Kelleher (UCD/Leinster)
Sean Masterson (Corinthians/Connacht)
Tadgh McElroy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Rory Mulvihill (UCD/Leinster)
Marcus Rea (Queen’s University/Ulster)
Jack Regan (UCD/Leinster)
Fineen Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster)
IRELAND UNDER-20s’ Six Nations Fixtures:
Friday, February 3
Scotland U-20s v Ireland U-20s, Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow, 8.30pm
Friday, February 10
Italy U-20s v Ireland U-20s, Stadio Enrico Chersoni, Prato, 7pm local time/6pm Irish time
Friday, February 24
Ireland U-20s v France U-20s, Donnybrook Stadium, 8pm
Saturday, March 11
Wales U-20s v Ireland U-20s, Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, 6.30pm
Friday, March 17
Ireland U-20s v England U-20s, Donnybrook Stadium, 6pm
IRELAND UNDER-20 Management –
Head Coach – Nigel Carolan
Assistant Coach – Peter Malone
Scrum Coach – Conor Twomey
Team Manager – Hendrik Kruger
Strength & Conditioning Coach – Martin Kennedy
Physiotherapist – Nicholas Lalor
Performance Analyst – Jim Herring
Masseur – Gareth Rossi
Equipment and Logistics Manager – Lar Hogan
Media Officer – Sam O’Byrne