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Munster ‘A’ Take Academy Dozen To Boston For Cara Cup

Munster ‘A’ Take Academy Dozen To Boston For Cara Cup

Young out-half Ben Healy has impressed for Munster 'A', Garryowen and the Ireland Under-20s so far this season ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Twelve Academy players, including Ireland Under-20 backs Sean French, Ben Healy and James McCarthy, are part of a 27-strong Munster ‘A’ squad which has been announced for their Cara Cup matches against the New England Free Jacks and Leinster ‘A’ in Boston.

A mix of senior, Academy and club players have been selected and the squad depart for their Massachusetts base tomorrow. The senior members of the travelling party are scrum halves Duncan Williams and James Hart, winger Alex Wootton and forwards Liam O’Connor, Conor Oliver and Dave O’Callaghan.

The Academy players involved for the short Stateside trip are Keynan Knox, who turns 20 on Saturday, Eoghan Clarke, Sean O’Connor, Gavin Coombes, Jack Daly, Jack O’Sullivan, Jack Stafford, Alex McHenry, Alan Tynan, Healy, French and McCarthy.

Munster ‘A’ assistant coach Greig Oliver, who is an Elite Player Development Officer at the province, commented: “It’s a kinda mini tour situation. It’ll be good to see how the players push on through that environment. Hopefully it will give the opportunity to some of the younger Academy players and sub-Academy players to push on.

“It’s a bit of exposure for them to mix with some of the senior players who were not in the Champions Cup squad. It’s a new experience going over there. Different opposition for the first one (in New England) and then we’ll play Leinster ‘A’, so it’s just a different environment and it’ll be interesting to see how the players adapt to that.”

The nine club players gaining experience with Munster ‘A’ are David Jennings (Dolphin), Paddy Kelly (Young Munster), Luke Kingston, who has helped Highfield to secure promotion from All-Ireland League Division 2A, Luke Masters (Shannon), Shane O’Driscoll (Midleton), Ross O’Neill (Cork Constitution), Young Munster winger Conor Phillips, who started the first two games of the Ireland U-20s’ Grand Slam run, Cian Reale (Old Crescent) and Billy Scannell (Young Munster).

Munster ‘A’ face the New England Free Jacks, who are joining US Major League Rugby next year, at the Irish Cultural Centre (ICC) in Canton this Saturday (kick-off 4pm local time/9pm Irish time). They will renew rivalries with regular rivals Leinster ‘A’, the Celtic Cup champions, at Union Point Sports Complex in Weymouth next Wednesday (April 1o) (kick-off 7pm local time/12am Irish time).

Meanwhile, Jack O’Donoghue and Joey Carbery are the two injury concerns following Munster’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final success away to Edinburgh. O’Donoghue failed a head injury assessment and will follow the return-to-play protocols, while Carbery came off during the first half with a left hamstring injury.

Brian Scott (foot), James Cronin (leg) and Tommy O’Donnell (shoulder) are progressing with their rehabilitation programmes, as Johann van Graan’s men turn their focus back to the GUINNESS PRO14 for the next two weeks. Sitting second in Conference A, they host Cardiff Blues at Irish Independent Park this Friday (kick-off 7.35pm) – tickets can be bought online here.

MUNSTER ‘A’ Squad (Cara Cup): Backs (11) – Duncan Williams, James Hart, Alex Wootton, Jack Stafford, Ben Healy, Alex McHenry, Sean French, Alan Tynan, James McCarthy, Luke Kingston (Highfield), Conor Phillips (Young Munster).

Forwards (16) – Liam O’Connor, Conor Oliver, Dave O’Callaghan, Keynan Knox, Eoghan Clarke, Sean O’Connor, Gavin Coombes, Jack Daly, Jack O’Sullivan, David Jennings (Dolphin), Paddy Kelly (Young Munster), Luke Masters (Shannon), Shane O’Driscoll (Midleton), Ross O’Neill (Cork Constitution), Cian Reale (Old Crescent), Billy Scannell (Young Munster).


Saturday, March 16 –

New England Free Jacks 7 Connacht Eagles 38, Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth

Wednesday, March 20 –

Connacht Eagles 44 Ulster ‘A’ 21, Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth

Sunday, March 24 –

New England Free Jacks 15 Ulster ‘A’ 43, Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth

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