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Maksymiw To Captain Connacht Eagles For Stateside Trip

Maksymiw To Captain Connacht Eagles For Stateside Trip

Irish-qualified lock Joe Maksymiw is pictured in lineout action for Connacht during the pool stages of the European Challenge Cup earlier this season ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Senior-capped second row Joe Maksymiw will captain a 26-man Connacht Eagles squad which is bound for America this week and the opening games of the inaugural Cara Cup.

The Cara Cup will see ‘A’ teams from the four provinces head to Massachusetts for a six-match tournament spread across four weeks. As well as an interprovincial clash with Ulster ‘A’ on Wednesday week, Connacht Eagles will take on the New England Free Jacks in the Cara Cup opener this Saturday.

The Cara Cup follows on from the inaugural Celtic Cup development competition earlier in the season when the four provinces took on the Welsh regions’ development sides. Connacht Eagles found it tough going, losing all six of their Conference fixtures but scoring 17 tries and earning three bonus points.

Commenting on the squad announcement, Connacht Eagles head coach Mossy Lawler, who has included 13 members of the province’s current Academy panel, said the Stateside trip will be a great opportunity for the group. The other senior-capped players travelling are Robin Copeland, Kieran Joyce, Stephen Kerins, James Connolly, Cillian Gallagher, Jonny Murphy and Conan O’Donnell.

“We’re really looking forward to our trip to the States for the Cara Cup, ” said Lawler, who came on board with Connacht as an Elite Player Development Officer in 2015. “We’ve got a lot of guys with experience and some with inexperience, but ultimately everyone is travelling for a different reason so that’s where we’re going to get our hunger.

“There were a lot of guys who played in the Celtic Cup who have gone on to win their first cap, so the Eagles set-up in the Academy is hugely important in terms of up-skilling those players to be able to play at the next level for the province.”

CONNACHT EAGLES Squad (Cara Cup): Backs (12) – Mark Balaski, Luke Carty, Conor Dean, Colm de Buitlear, Conor Hayes, Kieran Joyce, Stephen Kerins, Hugh Lane, Oran McNulty, Sean O’Brien, Corey Reid, Colm Reilly.

Forwards (14) – Declan Adamson, Peter Claffey, James Connolly, Robin Copeland, Jordan Duggan, Cillian Gallagher, Cian Huxford, Conor Kenny, Joe Maksymiw (capt), Sean Masterson, Neal Moylett, Jonny Murphy, Conan O’Donnell, Liam Winnett.


Saturday, March 16 –

New England Free Jacks v Connacht Eagles, Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth, 3pm local time/7pm Irish time

Wednesday, March 20 –

Connacht Eagles v Ulster ‘A’, Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth, 7pm local time/11pm Irish time

Sunday, March 24 –

New England Free Jacks v Ulster ‘A’, Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth, 6.30pm local time/10.30pm Irish time

Saturday, April 6 –

New England Free Jacks v Munster ‘A’, Irish Cultural Centre, Canton, 4pm local time/9pm Irish time

Wednesday April 10 –

Munster ‘A’ v Leinster ‘A’, Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth, 7pm local time/12am Irish time

Sunday, April 14 –

New England Free Jacks v Leinster ‘A’, Harvard Mignone Field, Boston, 5pm local time/10pm Irish time