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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Kelleher at 15 as Cullen names youthful Leinster team for Coventry friendly

Ross Molony captains the province for their first pre-season hit-out at Donnybrook tomorrow.

CIAN KELLEHER WILL make his return to Leinster colours when he starts at fullback in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Coventry, as Leo Cullen uses the first hit-out of the summer to test his squad depth.

Kelleher is Leinster’s only new addition to their squad ahead of the 2019/20 campaign have re-signed for his native province after three years with Connacht, and is named to start in Cullen’s starting XV for the visit of the English Championship side to Donnybrook [KO 3pm].

2019 Tullamore RFC Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Summer Camp Kelleher is back in blue. Source: Sportsfile

Ross Molony captains a youthful Leinster side, but there is also plenty of experience within the extended matchday squad with Adam Byrne, Barry Daly, James Tracy and Rory O’Loughlin all involved.

Byrne, back to full fitness after a quad injury saw him miss the closing stages of last season, starts in the back three alongside Kelleher and Baly, with Gavin Mullin and Conor O’Brien paired in midfield.

There is a new-look half-back pairing as Ireland U20 out-half Harry Byrne and Dublin University nine Rowan Osborne are handed their chance to impress early in pre-season. 

Peter Dooley, Rónan Kelleher and Vakh Abdaladze have been selected as the starting front row, with a back row of first-year academy recruit Martin Moloney, the fit-again Will Connors and Ronan Foley completing the pack. 

Among an extended 14-player bench are academy players Liam Turner and Roman Salanoa, the former also joined by his Ireland U20 team-mates Ronan Watters and Rob Russell. Ireland sevens international Adam La Grue has also been included.

The game is part of a historic double-header at Donnybrook, with the province’s women’s side getting their inter-pro defence underway against Connacht immediately after [KO 5.30pm].

The final game of the day will see the Leinster take on Ulster in the opening game of the U19 inter-pro series [KO 7.45pm]. 

Leinster:

15. Cian Kelleher 
14. Adam Byrne 
13. Gavin Mullin 
12. Conor O’Brien
11. Barry Daly 
10. Harry Byrne 
9. Rowan Osborne 

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1. Peter Dooley 
2. Rónan Kelleher 
3. Vakh Abdaladze 
4. Ross Molony (captain)
5. Josh Murphy 
6. Martin Moloney 
7. Will Connors 
8. Ronan Foley.

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Michael Milne 
18. Jack Aungier
19. Ryan Baird 
20. Max Deegan 
21. Patrick Patterson
22. Jimmy O’Brien
23. Liam Turner
24. Roman Salanoa
25. Ronan Watters
26. Rory O’Loughlin
27. Jack Kelly
28. Adam La Grue 
29. Rob Russell.

Who will be on the plane to Japan? Bernard Jackman joins Murray and Gavan to map out the Irish depth chart. We also rank the best national anthems, and Murray sits down with Peter O’Mahony.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Ryan Bailey

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