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Match Preview: Scotland Club XV v Ireland Club XV

Match Preview: Scotland Club XV v Ireland Club XV

There will be silverware on the line for the first time as the best club players in Ireland and Scotland battle it out at Netherdale. If David O’Mahony’s talented side prove triumphant, the Dalriada Cup will be making its way across the Irish Sea.


SCOTLAND CLUB XV v IRELAND CLUB XV, Netherdale, Gala RFC, 7.30pm

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Team News: Ireland’s Ulster Bank Club International team, which is coached by Clonakilty’s David O’Mahony, contains five new caps in the starting line-up and will be captained by Cork Constitution back rower Frank Cogan.

Barry Keeshan, consistently one of the highest points scorers in the Ulster Bank League, will start at out-half and is partnered by Matt D’Arcy from St. Mary’s College, who wins his first cap at this level.

Evan Ryan of Clontarf and Dolphin’s Eric Moloney will form an experienced centre partnership, while Old Belvedere’s try machine David Mongan earns his first cap with Galwegians’ John Cleary on the wings. John O’Brien of Buccaneers is another new cap at full-back.

Up front, Richie Sweeney is rewarded for his good form for St. Mary’s College with a start at hooker, and John Ryan of UCC and Christy Condon of Dolphin complete the front row.

Philip Donnellan of UCC and Clontarf’s Simon Crawford will combine in the second row, and the back row is a highly experienced unit with former Club International captain Hugh Hogan packing down alongside Barry O’Mahony and current skipper Frank Cogan.

This is the sixth season of the Club International match between Ireland and Scotland and as it stands, the Irish are three to two in front.

A number of players have progressed through the provincial and international ranks since competing in Club International fixtures over the years.

These include Munster and Ireland duo Denis Hurley, who played in the inaugural game against Scotland in 2006, and Damien Varley, along with Leinster’s Simon Shawe and Connacht’s Rob Sweeney.

There is free admission for Friday’s clash at Netherdale, and a trophy is on the line for the first time in the form of the Dalriada Cup.

The Dalriada Cup was borne out of the additional significance for the sponsor which, through the Irish arm of RBS (Ulster Bank), will have a foot in both camps when the sides meet at the home of Gala RFC.

Staff from both RBS and Ulster Bank were invited to the submit names for the Cup with Dalriada, which in Gaelic translates as Earra Ghaidheal, ‘the boundary of the Gaels’, proving to be the most popular.

Dalriada was a sixth and early seventh century Gaelic kingdom that spanned the western coast of Scotland (which roughly covered Argyll & Bute and Lochaber) and the northern coasts of Ireland (County Antrim).

After their trip to Scotland, the Ireland Club side will face England Counties at Anglesea Road next Friday (kick-off 5.30pm).

Meanwhile, for their renewal of rivalries with Ireland, Scotland Club team coach Ally Donaldson has made three changes to the side that lost 30-18 to France last month.

Ayr’s Ross Curle comes off the bench to start at outside centre, while Glasgow Hawks hooker Eric Milligan packs down with two new props.

Gordon Reid from Ayr comes off the bench at loosehead prop, switching with Alan Dymock, and Bruce McNeil from Hawick comes in at tighthead to replace the injured Alan Brown.

Scottish team manager Ian Rankin said: “These matches are always tight with the standard getting better every year – there’s very little between the sides.

“Our strengths come with experience. A number of the Scotland players have played at this level on a number of occasions before, while the majority of the players have the benefit of playing in the British & Irish Cup which has helped to develop the pace and intensity of our play.

“The players really enjoy the atmosphere at Netherdale. Our close victory over France last season was a major achievement in front of a big Borders crowd. We’re looking to the supporters to come out in force again, to make a lot of noise and give the guys a lift.”

SCOTLAND CLUB XV: Tom Brown (Currie); Fraser Thomson (Melrose), Ross Curle (Ayr), Dean Kelbrick (Glasgow Hawks), Dougie Fife (Currie); Scott Wight (Melrose), Richard Sneddon (Currie); Gordon Reid (Ayr), Eric Milligan (Glasgow Hawks), Bruce McNeil (Hawick), Damien Kelly (Ayr), Rory McKay (Glasgow Hawks), John Dalziel (Melrose) (capt), Rob Colhouln (Ayr), Ross Weston (Currie).

Replacements: Finlay Gilles (Currie), Alan Dymock (Heriot’s), Nick Campbell (Glasgow Hawks), Andy Dunlop (Ayr), Andy Dymock (Dundee), Matt Scott (Currie), Harry Duthie (Dundee).

IRELAND CLUB XV: John O’Brien (Buccaneers); John Cleary (Galwegians), Eric Moloney (Dolphin), Evan Ryan (Clontarf), David Mongan (Old Belvedere); Barry Keeshan (Dolphin), Matt D’Arcy (St. Mary’s College); John Ryan (UCC), Richie Sweeney (St. Mary’s College), Christy Condon (Dolphin), Philip Donnellan (UCC), Simon Crawford (Clontarf), Hugh Hogan (St. Mary’s College), Barry O’Mahony (Clontarf), Frank Cogan (Cork Constitution) (capt).

Replacements: Ciaran Kavanagh (Clontarf), Ger Slattery (Young Munster), Liam Og Murphy (Young Munster), Damian Hall (St. Mary’s College), Gerry Hurley (Cork Constitution), Alan Kingsley (Young Munster), Stuart Morrow (Ballynahinch).

Referee: Stefano Penne (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Cammy Rudkin, Graeme Marshall (both Scotland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Scotland Club XV to win: 4/7; Draw: 20/1; Ireland Club XV to win: 11/8

Pre-Match Links –

New Silverware Adds Shine To Club International

IRFU And Ulster Bank Launch New Community Rugby Partnership

Ireland Club XV: Previous Matches –

2006: Ireland Club XV 30 Scotland Club XV 13, Donnybrook

2007: Ireland Club XV 20 England Counties 17, Donnybrook; Scotland Club XV 18 Ireland Club XV 11, Boroughmuir RFC

2008: Ireland Club XV 20 Scotland Club XV 15, Donnybrook

2009: Ireland Club XV 13 England Counties 13, Donnybrook; Scotland Club XV 31 Ireland Club XV 18, Watsonians RFC

2010: England Counties 29 Ireland Club XV 25, Stourbridge RFC; Ireland Club XV 21 Scotland Club XV 18, Donnybrook