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Ireland U18 Schools squad features six players back from last year

There’s a strong Connacht contingent included in Peter Smyth’s 26-man group.

IRELAND U18 SCHOOLS coach Peter Smyth has included six returning players in his squad for the U18 Six Nations Festival, which takes place in England from next week.

Ben Murphy, the son of Ireland skills and kicking coach Richie, is one of those back from last year, as is Nathan Doak, the son of ex-Ulster and current Worcester attack coach Neil.

Ben Murphy and Mark Morrissey Pres College, Bray student Ben Murphy is back again this year. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

St Mary’s School, Drogheda student Karl Martin, Belfast Royal Academy’s Tom Stewart, PBC Cork forward Alex Kendellen and Chris Cosgrave – who recently helped St Michael’s to the Leinster Schools Senior Cup – are the other returning players in the 26-man squad.

St Michael’s players Lee Barron, Jack Boyle and Will Hickey join Cosgrave in the squad, while CBC Cork – who won the Munster Schools Senior Cup this year – are represented by Cian Whooley, Aaron Leahy, Harry O’Riordan and Mark Donnelly.

Among the six-strong Connacht contingent are Shane Jennings and Diarmuid Kilcommins, who won an All-Ireland minor hurling title with Galway last year.

Jennings was also part of Garbally College’s Connacht Schools Senior Cup title-winning squad this season, along with fellow Ireland Schools call-up Oisin McCormack.

Second row Darragh Murray, the younger brother of Ireland U20s lock Niall, captained the Connacht U18s to trophy success at the IRFU U18 Interprovincial Festival at the start of the season.

Darragh Murray receives the trophy from Adrian Leddy Connacht's Darragh Murray is included. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Belvedere College’s Alex Soroka, the brother of former Ireland U20 international Ivan, is also included.

Smyth has included seven Ulstermen in his Ireland U18 Schools squad, with five Munster players and eight from Leinster.

Ireland get their U18 Six Nations Festival campaign underway with a meeting against France in Gloucester on Saturday 13 April, before facing England in Worcester four days later. Their run of fixtures concludes with a clash against France in Gloucester on Sunday 21 April.

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Ireland U18 Schools squad:

Backs (12):

Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Ulster)
Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Ulster)
Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Connacht)
Diarmuid Killcommins (Coláiste Bhaile Chláir/Connacht)
Aaron Leahy (CBC Cork/Munster)
Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)
Karl Martin (St Mary’s School Drogheda/Leinster)
Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray/Leinster)
Harry O’Riordan (CBC Cork/Munster)
Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Leinster)
Cian Whooley (CBC Cork/Munster)

Forwards (14):

Lee Barron (St Michael’s College/Leinster)
Jack Boyle (St Michael’s College/Leinster)
Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Connacht)
Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ulster)
Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Munster)
Oscar Egan (Coleraine Grammar School/Ulster)
Will Hickey (St Michael’s College/Leinster)
Alexander Kendellen (PBC Cork/Munster)
Diarmuid McCormack (Clongowes Wood College/Connacht)
Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Connacht)
Darragh Murray (Colaiste Chiaran/Connacht)
George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)
Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy/Ulster)

U18 Six Nations Festival fixtures:

Saturday April 13, 2.40pm
Ireland v France, Hartpury College, Gloucester

Wednesday April 17, 1.40pm
England v Ireland, Sixways Stadium, Worcester 

Sunday April 21, 11.10am
Ireland v Wales, Kingsholm, Gloucester.

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