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O'Donoghue captains Munster A while Leinster begin title defence

All four provinces have named their teams for the opening round of the British & Irish Cup.

O'Donoghue has made a couple of impressive cameos for Munster at senior level.
O'Donoghue has made a couple of impressive cameos for Munster at senior level.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE BRITISH AND Irish Cup gets underway this weekend, with Leinster A targeting a third consecutive title.

Head coach Girvan Dempsey has named a side including promising backs Ross Byrne, Adam Byrne and Cian Kelleher for tomorrow afternoon’s meeting with Plymouth Albion in Brickfields [KO 15.00].

Second row Tom Denton captains the XV, while Jordan Coghlan starts at No. 8 in a back row that also includes Ben Marshall and Peadar Timmins. UCD’s Gavin Thornbury partners Denton in the locking department.

Munster A take on Kevin Maggs’ Moseley in Clonmel tomorrow [KO 15.00], with highly-rated Waterford native Jack O’Donoghue again captaining the team from No. 8.

Mick O’Driscoll has named academy fullback Stephen Fitzgerald in his starting side for the first time, with pacy wing Greg O’Shea also set for his B & I Cup debut. The likes of Luke O’Dea, Cathal Sheridan, Paddy Butler and Barry O’Mahony offer experience elsewhere.

Ulster Ravens are also in action tomorrow at 15.00, as they travel to the Talbot Athletic Ground to play Welsh outfit Aberavon.

Ireland international Declan Fitzpatrick starts at tighthead prop, while fellow senior players Ricky Andrew, Ruaidhri Murphy and Neil McComb are also involved, the latter captaining the team.

Noel Reid and Dominic Ryan lift The British & Irish Cup Leinster are looking for their third B&I Cup title in-a-row. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Former Lansdowne FC duo Clive Ross and Charlie Butterworth make up the back row with Sean Reidy.

Finally, the Connacht Eagles have named their team to take on Bristol Rugby on Sunday at Ashton Gate [KO 15.00], with No. 8 Eoghan Masterson captaining them.

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Fionn Carr, Miah Nikora and John Cooney lend an experienced edge to the backline, while 27-year-old lock Andrew Browne makes his first appearance of the season in the second row.

The performances of Ireland U20 duo Ciaran Gaffney and Peter Robb will be of great interest to head coach Nigel Carolan, while ex-Grenoble man Shane O’Leary starts at outside centre.

Leinster A (v Plymouth): Cian Kelleher; Sam Coghlan Murray, Rory O’Loughlin, Steve Crosbie, Adam Byrne; Ross Byrne, Nick McCarthy; Brian McGovern, Sean McCarthy, Oisin Heffernan; Tom Denton (capt.), Gavin Thornbury; Ben Marshall, Peadar Timmins, Jordan Coghlan.

Replacements: James Tracy, Ivan Soroka, Ross Molony, Josh Murphy, Adam Griggs, Tom Farrell, Billy Dardis.

Munster A (v Moseley): Stephen Fitzgerald; Luke O’Dea, Dan Goggin, Niall Kenneally, Greg O’Shea; Rory Scannell, Cathal Sheridan; Alan Cotter, Max Abbott, Rory Burke; Shane Buckley, Sean McCarthy; Paddy Butler, Barry O’Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue (capt.).

Replacements: Andrew O’Driscoll, Christy Condon, Darragh Moloney, Ryan Murphy, Jamie Glynn, Tomas Quinlan, Alex Wootton.

Declan Fitzpatrick Fitzpatrick has been named in the Ulster Ravens' XV. Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Ulster Ravens (v Aberavon): Peter Nelson; Ross Adair, Ricky Andrew, Jacob Stockdale, Jack Owens; Sean O’Hagan, David Shanahan; Ruaidhri Murphy, John Andrew, Declan Fitzpatrick; John Donnan, Neil McComb (capt.); Sean Reidy, Clive Ross, Charlie Butterworth.

Replacements: Kyle McCall, Dave Ryan, James Simpson, Frank Taggart, Josh Bingham, John Creighton, Conor McKee.

Connacht Eagles (v Bristol): Shane Layden; Fionn Carr, Shane O’Leary, Peter Robb, Ciaran Gaffney; Miah Nikora, John Cooney; JP Cooney, Pat O’Toole, Jamie Dever; Andrew Browne, Danny Qualter; Steve McVeigh, James Connolly, Eoghan Masterson (capt.).

Replacements: Jack Dinneen, Jacob Walshe, Ultan Dillane, Cian Romaine, Caolin Blade, Conor McKeon, David Panter.

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Murray Kinsella

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