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Friend picks a blend of youth and experience for Connacht's final game of the season

Zebre visit the Sportsground tomorrow evening.

Dylan Tierney-Martin is handed his first Connacht start at hooker.
Dylan Tierney-Martin is handed his first Connacht start at hooker.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT’S MATCHDAY SQUAD has been announced for Saturday’s URC game against Zebre. 

Out of the running for a play-of place, the province host Italian opposition in their final fixture of the season at the Sportsground tomorrow (5pm kick-off).

Head coach Andy Friend will already have one eye on the 2022/23 campaign, and his team features a mix of youth and experience. 

There is a first start for Dylan Tierney-Martin at hooker, and Sean Masterson and Oran McNulty get the nod at openside flanker and fullback respectively. 

Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham line out alongside Tierney-Martin in the front row, and it’s Gavin Thornbury and Niall Murray in the second row. The back row, meanwhile, is made up of Masterson, his brother Eoghan and Cian Prendergast.

The half-backs are Kieran Marmion and captain Jack Carty, with Tom Daly and Tom Farrell in the centre and Alex Wootton and John Porch on the wings.

Ultan Dillane, Abraham Papali’i and Sammy Arnold are all named on the bench ahead of their departures this summer and may be called upon for one final appearance. 

“Even though we missed out on the play-offs we have plenty to play for tomorrow,” said Friend. 

Finishing with a 50% win record is important, but more so is finishing on a high at our home ground – both for our playing group and our supporters.

“The likes of Dylan, Sean and Oran all deserve their opportunity tomorrow and I know the departing players involved will savour the experience as well.”

Connacht team v Zebre

15. Oran McNulty 
14. John Porch 
13. Tom Farrell 
12. Tom Daly 
11. Alex Wootton 
10. Jack Carty 
9. Kieran Marmion 

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1. Denis Buckley 
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin
3. Finlay Bealham 
4. Gavin Thornbury 
5. Niall Murray 
6. Eoghan Masterson 
7. Seán Masterson 
8. Cian Prendergast 

Replacements

16. Dave Heffernan 
17. Matthew Burke 
18. Jack Aungier 
19. Ultan Dillane 
20. Abraham Papali’i 
21. Colm Reilly 
22. Conor Fitzgerald 
23. Sammy Arnold 

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