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Bleyendaal On The Bench For Munster ‘A’ Team’s Final Round Tie

Bleyendaal On The Bench For Munster ‘A’ Team’s Final Round Tie

The Munster ‘A’ team to play their Leinster counterparts in Friday’s crucial Celtic Cup final round clash at Energia Park in Donnybrook (kick-off 5pm) has been named by head coach Peter Malone.

Both provinces have won five from five in the competition so far with four try-scoring bonus points each. A superior scoring difference has Leinster ‘A’ top of the table currently, with the winners of Friday’s game progressing to the Celtic Cup final against the Welsh Conference winners.

Eight Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players are included in the squad along with five club players, as senior out-half Bill Johnston captains the side. Stephen Fitzgerald starts at full-back with Liam Coombes, a try scorer against Scarlets ‘A’ last week, and Alex Wootton on the wings.

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Cork Constitution duo Shane Daly and Alex McHenry, who are both Ireland Sevens internationals, are paired together in the centre with Newcastle West teenager Charlie O’Doherty making his first start at half-back alongside the 21-year-old Johnston.

Josh Wycherley, Diarmuid Barron and former Leinster prop Jeremy Loughman make up an unchanged front row, with Fineen Wycherley and Darren O’Shea also retained in the engine room. Sean O’Connor, Gavin Coombes, who replaces Jack Daly, and Dave O’Callaghan make up the back row.

In a welcome boost, out-half Tyler Bleyendaal returns from injury to take his place among the replacements which also include senior-capped hooker Kevin O’Byrne. Garryowen’s Evan Maher, a former St. Munchin’s College student, is in line to make his Munster ‘A’ debut off the bench.

MUNSTER ‘A’ (v Leinster ‘A’): Stephen Fitzgerald; Liam Coombes, Shane Daly, Alex McHenry, Alex Wootton; Bill Johnston (capt), Charlie O’Doherty; Josh Wycherley, Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea, Sean O’Connor, Gavin Coombes, Dave O’Callaghan.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Cronan Gleeson, Keynan Knox, Paddy Kelly, Dan Walsh, Evan Maher, Tyler Bleyendaal, Sean French.