Leinster academy lock Joe McCarthy. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Ireland boss Farrell impressed by 'outstanding' 20-year-old Joe McCarthy

The Leinster academy second row left a positive impression in Ireland camp.

IRELAND HEAD COACH Andy Farrell says 20-year-old Leinster lock Joe McCarthy has impressed in Six Nations camp this week.

McCarthy was called up to the Ireland squad following injuries for his provincial team-mates James Ryan and Ryan Baird.

The former Blackrock College student has been stood out for Trinity in the All-Ireland League this season and has shone in his four recent United Rugby Championship appearances for Leinster, as well as earning a full professional contract ahead of the 2022/23 season.

6ft 6ins and 120kg McCarthy, who is still on a Leinster academy deal right now,  has adapted well to life in Ireland camp. He won’t feature against Scotland this weekend, but departs camp having left a positive impression on Farrell.

“He’s an impressive young man,” said Farrell. “He’s got big legs for a start!

“I’ve been very impressed. If young lads are struggling, then obviously we go to them and help them as much as we can. But sometimes I like to sit back and see how they go about their business because it’s daunting coming into an international camp and trying to be yourself.

“Joe, I was very impressed. He was getting around everyone, trying to get up to speed with the plays, calls, how we do things. He wanted to learn, he was like a sponge and he had two days of that, then we had a big session on Wednesday. He was outstanding within that session.

“That’s what we want to see, people taking an opportunity and using it and using that for the future as well.”

While a number of Ireland’s wider squad members will stay with the matchday 23 this weekend, covering any late injuries ahead of the clash with Scotland on Saturday, the Six Nations will end with several of them not having had any in-game involvement.

gavin-coombes Gavin Coombes hasn't played in this Six Nations. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

The likes of Munster man Gavin Coombes and Ulster’s Robert Balocuoune would have been hoping for an opportunity to win further caps for Ireland but will have to wait until the summer tour of New Zealand for their next possible chance.

Farrell said those players will leave Ireland camp with a clear message about how to make their point.

“It’s the same as it is every week when they’ve gone back to play for their provinces,” said Farrell. “It’s that we want to see – the learnings and the improvement. I think we’ve all seen that already, you know?

“People coming into camp, Joe McCarthy coming in for three days this week, has been fantastic for him. You just know that for players, it’s where they want to be. Of course, the lads going home are disappointed but they take the learnings on board and know they have to produce them week in, week out at provincial level.

“Because of that and because of their want to get into the squad and get into the team and play international football, we all benefit.

“So the message is just the same. They know through the feedback what we think about their game, they’re honest with their feedback as well, and we expect them to go and produce that week in, week out.”

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