Maynooth University’s North Campus ground will play host to the final round matches in the IRFU Under-19 Interprovincial Championship, with unbeaten Leinster on course for a clean sweep of victories.
IRFU UNDER-19 INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 3: Sunday, August 25
CONNACHT UNDER-19s (4th) v ULSTER UNDER-19s (3rd), Maynooth University, 1.30pm
LEINSTER UNDER-19s (1st) v MUNSTER UNDER-19s (2nd), Maynooth University, 3.30pm
Armed with nine points and a +25 scoring difference, the Leinster Under-19s could retain their title at the Co. Kildare venue, but second-placed Munster stand in their way with four points currently separating the provinces at the top of the table.
The Championship leaders, who make five personnel changes, will have additional firepower with a start on the left wing for Wexford Wanderers’ Josh O’Connor, a key member of Ireland’s European U-18 Sevens title-winning team. Centre Simon O’Kelly’s inclusion sees his St. Michael’s colleague Chris Cosgrave move out wide.
Gonzaga College’s Harry Colbert is Leinster’s third different starting scrum half of the campaign, while Cistercian College Roscrea duo Ronan Loughnane and Shane Connolly make way for Terenure College hooker Levi Vaughan and Wesley College tighthead Sam Illo respectively.
Munster, who were edged out 13-11 by Ulster in midweek, have also made five changes in personnel. A rejigged back-line includes a new half-back pairing in Crescent College Comprehensive’s Jack Delaney, who has scored 19 points so far, and CBC Cork’s Mark O’Connor.
Alan Flannery from Rockwell College comes in at inside centre with Skibbereen starlet Jamie Shanahan reverting to full-back and Ireland U-18 Sevens international Aaron Leahy now lining out on the left wing.
Matt McCarthy (Clonakilty) and Will O’Callaghan (Ardscoil Ris) come in for their first starts in the tight five, while Jack Ward Murphy, who was also a medal winner with the Ireland U-18 Sevens team, is selected at openside flanker with PBC Cork’s Jack Kelleher moving to the blindside berth.
Five players have been promoted from the Connacht bench to start against Ulster in the day’s curtain-raiser. Ireland U-18 Sevens international Diarmuid Kilcommins comes in on the right wing with Sligo’s Luke Hogge slotting in at inside centre.
Corinthians’ Cathal Forde, the province’s top scorer with 12 points, reverts to out-half where he combines with Hubert Gilvarry, the versatile Sligo back. Gilvarry was chosen as the full-back on the Connacht Schools Team of the Year last season.
Carrick-on-Shannon’s Matthew Earley and Hubert Costello from Corinthians have been added to the pack, along with Martin Fallon who joins his Buccaneers club-mate Darragh Murray in the engine room. Costello’s inclusion sees captain Diarmuid McCormack switch positions to openside flanker.
Meanwhile, Ireland U-18 Sevens captain Charlie Worth returns to provincial action on Ulster’s left wing. Forwards Joel Dundas and Adam Hanna are the two changes up front, while the injured Matthew Sands’ place in the second row is filled by Regent House’s Will Hopes.
CONNACHT U-19: Conor O’Shaughnessy (Galwegians RFC); Diarmuid Kilcommins (Corinthians RFC), Shane Jennings (Ballinasloe RFC), Luke Hogge (Sligo RFC), Rory McCleane (Corinthians RFC); Cathal Forde (Corinthians RFC), Hubert Gilvarry (Sligo RFC); Conal O’Griofa (Corinthians RFC), Matthew Earley (Carrick-on-Shannon RFC), Alan Duffy (Ballina RFC), Martin Fallon (Buccaneers RFC), Darragh Murray (Buccaneers RFC), Hubert Costello (Corinthians RFC), Diarmuid McCormack (Corinthians RFC) (capt), Donnacha Byrne (Sligo RFC).
Replacements: Eoin de Buitléar (Corinthians RFC), Caolan Hopkins (Ballina RFC), Cian Scanlon (Corinthians RFC), Cathal Fleming (Monivea RFC), Gavin Meagher (Roscrea RFC), Cian Treacy (Ballinasloe RFC), Daniel Reddan (Galwegians RFC), Harry Balsiger (Buccaneers RFC).
ULSTER U-19: Matthew Corr (Ballymena Academy); Luke Pollock (Dalriada School), Jack Harte (Friends’ School, Lisburn), Greg Hutley (Down High School), Charlie Worth (Royal School Armagh); Reece Malone (Friends’ School, Lisburn), Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School); Adam Hanna (Banbridge Academy), Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy), Patrick McAlpine (Campbell College, Belfast), Will Hopes (Regent House School), Harry Sheridan (Sullivan Upper School), Joel Dundas (Wallace High School), Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School) (capt), Jack Gamble (Ballyclare High School).
Replacements: Sam Rainey (Royal School Armagh), George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School), Scott Hutton (Belfast HS), David Stinson (Enniskillen Royal GS), Peter Heasley (Wallace High School), Dara Gaskin (Campbell College, Belfast), Matthew Hamilton (Malone RFC), Callum Davidson (Methodist College), Justin White (Enniskillen Royal GS), Stuart Wightman (Belfast Metropolitan College).
LEINSTER U-19: Jamie Osborne (Naas RFC); Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College), Simon O’Kelly (St. Michael’s College), Karl Martin (Boyne RFC), Josh O’Connor (Wexford Wanderers RFC); Tim Corkery (Kilkenny RFC), Harry Colbert (Gonzaga College); Hugo O’Malley (Blackrock College), Levi Vaughan (Terenure College), Sam Illo (Wesley College), Alex Soroka (Belvedere College), Joe McCarthy (Blackrock College), Jack Guinane (St. Michael’s College), Aaron Coleman (Belvedere College), Will Hickey (St. Michael’s College).
Replacements: Temi Adewunmi-Lasisi (Enniscorthy RFC), Ronan Loughnane (CC Roscrea), Shane Connolly (CC Roscrea), Steven Walsh (King’s Hospital), Jack Barry (Gonzaga College), Matthew Cullen (Blackrock College), Justin Leonard (Belvedere College), Matthew McGetrick-Stafford (Terenure College).
MUNSTER U-19: Jamie Shanahan (Skibbereen RFC); Killian Dineen (Ardscoil Ris), Harry O’Riordan (CBC Cork) (capt), Alan Flannery (Rockwell College), Aaron Leahy (CBC Cork); Jack Delaney (Crescent College Comprehensive), Mark O’Connor (CBC Cork); Liam Bishop (Nottingham RFC), Billy Kingston (PBC Cork), Matt McCarthy (Clonakilty RFC), Will O’Callaghan (Ardscoil Ris), John Forde (PBC Cork), Jack Kelleher (PBC Cork), Jack Ward Murphy (Ardscoil Ris), Daniel Okeke (Ardscoil Ris).
Replacements: Joe Rickard (Crescent College Comprehensive), Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork), Craig Finn (St. Munchin’s College), Fearghail O’Donoghue (Cashel RFC), Niall Queally (Glenstal Abbey School), John O’Sullivan (Rockwell College), Conor McMahon (Nenagh Ormond RFC), Tim Hegarty (Old Christians RFC).
IRFU UNDER-19 INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP – TOP SCORERS AFTER ROUND 2:
23 – Chris Cosgrave (Leinster)
19 – Jack Delaney (Munster)
12 – Cathal Forde (Connacht), Reece Malone (Ulster)
10 – Reuben Crothers (Ulster), Tim Hegarty (Munster), Shane Jennings (Connacht), Matthew McGetrick-Stafford (Leinster), Jamie Osborne (Leinster), Alex Soroka (Leinster)
2 – Reuben Crothers (Ulster), Tim Hegarty (Munster), Shane Jennings Connacht), Matthew McGetrick-Stafford (Leinster), Jamie Osborne (Leinster), Alex Soroka (Leinster)
1 – Callum Davidson (Ulster), Jack Delaney (Munster), Killian Dineen (Munster), Cathal Fleming (Connacht), Ronan Loughnane (Leinster), Conor McKee (Ulster), Ben Murphy (Leinster), Luke Pollock (Ulster), Alex Soroka (Leinster)