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Copeland Returns From Injury With Connacht Eagles

Copeland Returns From Injury With Connacht Eagles

Connacht Eagles head coach Mossy Lawler has finalised his team for Saturday’s Celtic Cup round 2 meeting with Dragons ‘A’ in Ystrad Mynach (kick-off 2.30pm).

Summer signing Robin Copeland has been named at number 8 as he continues his recovery from a thigh injury. The Wexford man is joined in the back row by Cillian Gallagher and Academy member Cian Huxford, who turns 19 next Friday.

Peter Claffey and Joe Maksymiw renew their second row partnership for the westerners, while the front row is also unchanged with experienced Auckland-born hooker Tom McCartney captaining the team alongside props Matthew Burke (21) and Conor Carey.

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20-year-old talent Conor Fitzgerald, who kicked three penalties and a conversion in the Eagles’ 24-16 first round defeat to Munster ‘A’, is retained at out-half with Conor McKeon getting the nod over James Mitchell this week at scrum half.

There is one other change to the side that lined out at Irish Independent Park, with Sean O’Brien, another of the Ireland Under-20-capped Academy recruits, promoted from the bench to start at outside centre alongside Kieran Joyce. Wingers Colm de Buitléar, a try scorer in Cork, and Rory Scholes, along with full-back Darragh Leader, make up the back-three.

CONNACHT EAGLES (v Dragons ‘A’): Darragh Leader; Rory Scholes, Sean O’Brien, Kieran Joyce, Colm de Buitléar; Conor Fitzgerald, Conor McKeon; Matthew Burke, Tom McCartney (capt), Conor Carey, Peter Claffey, Joe Maksymiw, Cillian Gallagher, Cian Huxford, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Jordan Duggan, Conor Kenny, Cormac Daly, Neal Moylett, James Mitchell, Conor Dean, Conor Hayes.