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Munster Academy Trio Set For Promotion To Senior Squad

Munster Academy Trio Set For Promotion To Senior Squad

Young scrum half Ethan Coughlan has made four senior appearances for Munster so far this season, including starts against the Hollywoodbets Sharks, Benetton Rugby, and the Crusaders ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Munster Rugby have confirmed that Academy trio Tony Butler, Ethan Coughlan, and Mark Donnelly will be promoted to the province’s senior squad in the summer.

In further player news, hooker Scott Buckley, who graduated from the Academy to Munster’s senior squad in 2022, has signed a contract extension.

Out-half Butler, scrum half Coughlan (both 21), and 22-year-old prop Donnelly have all signed on for the next two seasons after impressing over their three years in the Academy.

Butler and Coughlan become the first Ennis RFC players to earn senior Munster contracts.

As previously confirmed, Academy lock Edwin Edogbo (21), who also came up through the Munster youths system with Cobh Pirates, will graduate from the Academy to the senior squad on a two-year deal next season.

Buckley, Butler, Coughlan, and Donnelly all made their Munster debuts in the famous Champions Cup win over Wasps back in December 2021.

A proud product of Ennis Rugby Club, Butler has earned his first senior contract after a very productive three years in the Academy.

He has made six senior appearances to date, including two starts so far this season against the Dragons and Connacht.

A Grand Slam winner with the Ireland Under-20s in 2022, Butler now plays his Energia All-Ireland League rugby with Young Munster having previously lined out for Garryowen.

He captained Ennis at underage level, teaming up with Coughlan at half-back as they enjoyed success in the Munster Under-16 and Under-18 Clubs competitions.

Coughlan is enjoying an excellent campaign with three starts so far this season and eight senior appearances in total since joining the Academy.

He enjoyed great success alongside Butler with Ennis at underage level, before captaining the Ireland Under-18 Clubs team. He also won a Grand Slam with the Ireland U-20s in 2022 and plays his All-Ireland League rugby with Shannon.

Donnelly has already made nine senior appearances for Munster after coming up through the ranks at Midleton RFC, Midleton College, and CBC Cork.

He was a Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup winner with CBC in 2019, and featured for the Ireland Under-20s in the 2021 U-20 Six Nations Championship.

He joined the Munster Academy that summer before making his senior debut, along with Buckley, Butler and Coughlan, against Wasps in that memorable Champions Cup pool game in Coventry.

Along with his nine senior Munster appearances, Donnelly has also played regularly for Garryowen in the All-Ireland League over the past three years.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old hooker Buckley has signed a one-year contract having made 25 appearances for Munster to date.

A product of the Munster Academy, Buckley started out with Kinsale RFC before captaining CBC Cork to the Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup title in 2019.

He was the player-of-the-match against Wasps on his Munster debut, and made nine appearances last season as Munster won the BKT United Rugby Championship in memorable fashion.

A UCC clubman, Buckley scored the match-winning try for Munster against the Crusaders at Páirc Ui Chaoimh earlier this month.