Head coach Morgan Lennon has made six changes to the Ireland Club team for Friday’s Dalriada Cup Series decider against Scotland Clubs at Energia Park (kick-off 7.30pm). Ireland have a 14-point advantage from the first game as they look to win the trophy for the first time in five years.
Buccaneers hooker John Sutton and prop Tom O’Reilly from St. Mary’s College are rotated into the front row, with Clontarf’s Michael Brown starting on the left wing after appearing off the bench during last week’s 23-9 win over the Scots in Netherdale.
Prop Adam Coyle and Dan Walsh, both former Ireland Under-20 internationals, have been drafted in from the extended 32-man Ireland Club XV squad. Walsh comes straight into the starting line-up in place of the injured Joe McSwiney.
The Young Munster openside admits there is a need to back up a rare win in Scotland with a performance in Donnybrook, saying: “The lads did brilliantly last week so there’s a pressure on us to deliver in front of our home fans. I know I’ll need to put in a performance too as the back row was outstanding. We’ll give it 100%.”
Clontarf captain Michael Noone also picked up a knock last week as a back row replacement. His place on the bench goes to Cork Constitution’s James Murphy, who is called up from outside the initial squad. He was initially selected for the 2018 series but was forced to withdraw due to injury.
The club stars from Ireland and Scotland’s domestic leagues will battle it out under the Donnybrook floodlights, with the Dalriada Cup, which Scotland won by six points last year, on the line. Tickets for the deciding game are available to buy from Ticketmaster.ie.
IRELAND CLUB XV Team & Replacements (v Scotland Clubs, 2019 Dalriada Cup Series, Energia Park, Donnybrook, Friday, February 8, kick-off 7.30pm):
Player/Club/Club International Caps –
15. Eamon Mills (Lansdowne) 4
14. Daniel McEvoy (Lansdowne) 3
13. Niall Kenneally (Cork Constitution) (capt) 3
12. Matt D’Arcy (Clontarf) 8
11. Michael Brown (Clontarf) 1
10. Aidan Moynihan (Cork Constitution) 1
9. John Poland (UCC) 1
1. Tom O’Reilly (St. Mary’s College) 1
2. John Sutton (Buccaneers) 1
3. Ian Prendiville (Lansdowne) 6
4. Brian Hayes (Cork Constitution) 1
5. Conor Kindregan (Cork Constitution) 1
6. Michael Melia (Terenure College) 3
7. Dan Walsh (Young Munster) *
8. Luke Cahill (Cork Constitution) 1
16. Liam Cronin (Garryowen) 1
17. Cronan Gleeson (Old Wesley) 3
18. Adam Coyle (Naas) *
19. Jack O’Sullivan (Lansdowne) 1
20. James Murphy (Cork Constitution) *
21. Alan Bennie (Lansdowne) 1
22. Callum Smith (Malone) 1
23. Jack Keating (Old Belvedere) 1
* Denotes uncapped player at this level
IRELAND CLUB XV MANAGEMENT TEAM –
Head Coach: Morgan Lennon
Assistant Coach: Johne Murphy
Team Manager: Maurice Hartery
Baggage Master: David Jermyn
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Cathal Murtagh
Team Doctor: Stuart O’Flanagan
Team Physio: Ailbe McCormack