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Ulster In Pole Position To Claim Junior Interpro Title

Ulster In Pole Position To Claim Junior Interpro Title

Ulster stand on the cusp of IRFU Junior Interprovincial Championship glory tomorrow, holding a five-point lead at the top of the table with last year’s winners Munster and Leinster – both on four points – their closest challengers.



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CONNACHT (4th) v MUNSTER (2nd), Dunmore RFC, 2.30pm

With a number of injuries to contend with, Munster Junior head coach John Keehan has had his hand forced into a number of changes as the province attempt to retain their Junior Interprovincial crown on the final day.

With Ulster having beaten the reigning champions on the opening day, and defeating Connacht last week, the ball remains in the northerners’ court ahead of facing Leinster in Longford at the same time. They require just a point to lift the trophy.

Munster need the Ulstermen to slip up south of the border if they are to have a chance at retaining the title, and even then with a five-point difference in the table, and a 45-point scoring difference in the tally, the Munstermen need to rack up the tries – and hope Leinster can put a few on the only undefeated side in the tournament – to stand a chance of being crowned champions again.

An uphill battle is made more difficult with the loss of key out-half John Lillis from Thurles and Kilfeacle & District back rower Kevin Kinnane, who scored two tries against Leinster last week, while Dan Horgan also misses out, joining the Tipperary pair on the treatment table.

Aidan O’Dwyer, Aidan Ware and Brian Collins all come in, hoping to make a big impact on the game in north County Galway, while Bandon’s Olan Crowley is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season, joined by Thurles’ Luke Kelly in being called up. Kilfeacle & District’s Brian McLoughlin moves to openside flanker from blindside to accommodate the incoming Ware.

Galway club Dunmore host an Interprovincial clash for the very first time, with Connacht looking to finish the tournament on a high after a narrow defeat to Leinster and a heavy loss to table-topping Ulster.

The Connacht team was named by head coach Paul Flanagan this afternoon and there will be an added local focus on Dunmore second row Martin Cummins as he is set to represent his province on home turf.

CONNACHT: Ian Murphy (Tuam); Peter O’Toole (Connemara), Coleman Maher (Monivea), Matthew Mannion (Monivea), Enda Hogan (Monivea); Seamie Fahy (Monivea), Mickey Murphy (Ballina) (capt); Cormac Grodan (Westport), Padraig Mannion (Monivea), Shane Faulkner (NUIG), Adam Bourke (Westport), Vinnie Lally (Monivea), Martin Cummins (Dunmore), Stephen Joyce (Monivea), Fergal Tully (Ballina), Jack Winters (Ballinrobe).

Replacements: Christy Reilly (Corrib), Eugene Conroy (Connemara), Ger Fahy (Monivea), Brian McDonagh (Monivea), Roy Stanley (NUIG), Alan Tierney (Tuam), Ryan Guilfoyle (NUIG), Thomas Lee (Corrib).

MUNSTER: Derry O’Connor (Abbeyfeale); Scott Hornibrook (Waterpark), Eoin O’Dwyer (Thurles), Tom O’Callaghan (Mitchelstown), Brian Collins (St. Senan’s); Aidan O’Dwyer (Thurles), Nicky Irwin (Thurles); Robert Brockhert (St. Mary’s), Mike Cronin (Castleisland), Rory Hannon (Waterpark), Kevin Phelan (Waterpark), Brendan Childs (Galbally), Brian McLoughlin (Kilfeacle & District), Aidan Ware (Old Christians), David O’Donoghue (Waterpark) (capt).

Replacements: Tom Doyle (Kilfeacle & District), Pa Ryan (St. Senan’s), Darren Collins (Muskerry), Luke Kelly (Thurles), Brian Collins (Abbeyfeale), Kieran Downey (Castleisland), Sean Herlihy (Newcastle West), Olan Crowley (Bandon).

LEINSTER (3rd) v ULSTER (1st), Longford RFC, 2.30pm

Ulster Junior head coach Richard Boyd has named his team that will take on Leinster at Longford RFC in the third and final round of this season’s IRFU Junior Interpros.
With Boyd’s charges currently sitting top of the table after the first two weekends, he has made just two changes to the side that comprehensively beat Connacht 34-5 in Ballina. Omagh’s Neil Brown will make his first start of the campaign on the right wing, while Grosvenor’s Allen McCluggage returns at scrum-half.

With Ulster on nine points and both Munster and Leinster on four points, a point for Ulster in Longford would secure their second Junior Interprovincial title in three years.

Meanwhile, Leinster boss David Mahon has announced the team to entertain the table toppers, making four changes in personnel following last week’s 30-15 defeat away to Munster.

Former Clontarf centre Killian Lett returns from injury to take his place in midfield, replacing Dundalk’s Johnny Williams who moves to out-half in place of Eric Flynn.

Ashbourne’s powerful back rower Simon Deevy comes in at number 8 for David O’Connor, and Shane Rogers – one of three players from host club Longford in the matchday panel – is added to the replacements bench in place of Ross Doyle.

Following their tight 15-14 victory over Connacht in their opening fixture in Newbridge and last week’s 15-point loss to Munster in Newcastle West, Leinster are third in the table and face a mammoth task on Saturday if they are to secure the Championship silverware.

LEINSTER: Liam Caddy (Kilkenny); Ivan Jacob (Enniscorthy), Killian Lett (Enniscorthy), William (Cas) O’Brien (Tullow), Paraic Mahon (Kilkenny); Johnny Williams (Dundalk), Gavin Kennedy (Ashbourne) (capt); Alan Wall (Ashbourne), Johnny Lee (Coolmine), Dylan Quinn (Longford), Mark Whelan (Gorey), Ronan Costello (De La Salle Palmerston), Barry Stewart (Longford), Kieran O’Gorman (De La Salle Palmerston), Simon Deevy (Ashbourne).

Replacements: Eanna Killian (Wicklow), Cathal Bannon (Portarlington), Paul McCreanor (Clondalkin), Neil Finlay (Clondalkin), Nick Doyle (Enniscorthy), Conor McCrossan (North Kildare), Bill Duggan (Monkstown), Shane Rogers (Longford).

ULSTER: Philip Cartmill (Cooke); Neil Brown (Omagh), Mikey Poskitt (Coleraine), Calum Irvine (CIYMS), Mitchell McComb (Grosvenor); Bokkie Carstens (Coleraine), Allen McCluggage (Grosvenor); Chris Nash (Coleraine) (capt), Alan Whitley (CIYMS), Gareth Beattie (Enniskillen), Josh Christie (Coleraine), Michael Ferguson (Coleraine), Brian Hughes (Coleraine), Andy McKeen (Carrickfergus), Andrew Kelly (Grosvenor).

Replacements (from): Ryan Cathcart (Enniskillen), Alan Ferguson (Enniskillen), Grant Bartley (Ballyclare), James Catterson (Omagh), Ryan Garrett (Larne), David Scott (Instonians), Martin Connolly (Randalstown), Gary Hume (Randalstown), Matthew Cahoon (Grosvenor), Michael Melville (Instonians).

IRFU Junior Interprovincial Results/Table