LEINSTER HAVE TODAY confirmed their academy panel for the coming season.
10 of Mike Ruddock’s under 20 squad that made it to the semi-final stage of this summer’s Junior World Championship are included in the academy, seven of whom are year one recruits.
Centre Garry Ringrose, who was nominated for world Junior Player of the Year after the World Cup, is among the eight; as are Ireland’s summer half-back pairing of Ross Byrne and Nick McCarthy.
Try-scoring fullback Cian Kelleher, Harrison Brewer, Ian Fitzpatrick, Peadar Timmins and Rory O’Loughlin complete the group – with the latter being the only man who missed out on the international series in the summer.
“They are really exciting players,” says academy manager Girvan Dempsey, “they had big influences on the tournament and on the Irish U20s through the Six Nations. I think they’re a really good bunch and they’ve all come through our sub academy programme as well and gained the benefits of that year.”
Billy Dardis, Peter Dooley and Ross Molony go into year two of the academy progamme while Leinster have awarded six graduates with professional contracts – including Jack Conan who was due to spend his third year in the academy this season.
Andrew Boyle (who was invited to train with Ireland at Carton House during the Six Nations) and Conor Gilsenan (who had a loan spell with Connacht last season before signing for London Irish) are the players released.
Former Clongowes number eight, Jordan Coghlan will spend his fourth year in the system after a season blighted by injury last term.
Dempsey explains: “His [Coghlan] development was hampered and the precedent was there with Sam Coghlan-Murray who was in a similar situation in his Academy term. Sam had a number of injuries and illnesses and he missed out on big chunks of his development.”
Year 1: Harrison Brewer, Ross Byrne, Ian Fitzpatrick, Cian Kelleher, Nick McCarthy, Rory O’Loughlin, Garry Ringrose, Peadar Timmins.Year 2: Adam Byrne, Steve Crosbie, Thomas Daly, Billy Dardis, Peter Dooley, Thomas Farrell, Ross Molony.Year 3: Tadhg Beirne, Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Jordan Coghlan, Daniel Leavy, Cathal Marsh, Gavin Thornbury, Josh Van Der Flier.
Senior contracts: Sam Coghlan-Murray, Jack Conan, Tadhg Furlong, Luke McGrath, Colm O’Shea, James Tracy.