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Leinster and Munster name teams for opening weekend of Celtic Cup

The new competition gets underway on Friday evening.

BOTH LEINSTER AND Munster have named youthful teams for the opening games of their respective Celtic Cup campaigns, as the new competition involving Irish provinces and Welsh regions gets underway on Friday evening.  

Caelan Doris Doris starts for Leinster 'A' tomorrow evening. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Leinster ‘A’ face Ulster at Malone RFC [KO 5pm] and although their side contains six players with senior experience, including captain Tom Daly, the selection of several academy prospects is an exciting one.

Daly, who missed the majority of last season, partners Conor O’Brien in midfield while Caelan Doris is named at number eight after starting the province’s Pro14 opener at Cardiff Blues last weekend.

Ed Byrne, Ross Molony and Vakh Abdaladze provide the other first-team experience, with highly-rated hooker Ronan Kelleher is given his chance in the front row.

There are several members of the Ireland squad from this summer’s U20 World Championship in Leinster’s XV, including Michael Silvester, second row Jack Dunne, Harry Byrne and Doris. 

Byrne travelled with the senior squad to Cardiff last weekend and starts in a half-back partnership with fellow academy member Paddy Patterson, with Ireland sevens international Hugo Keenan named to start at fullback.

Scott Penny, who was a standout performers in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup for St Michael’s last year, is at openside flanker with another player off the Ailesbury Road production line, Oisín Dowling, at blindside.

On the bench, first year academy recruits David Hawkshaw and Liam Turner — who captained Blackrock College to Senior Cup glory — will be hoping to make a big impact when given their opportunity. 

Munster ‘A’ head coach Peter Malone as included 10 academy players in his side for the province’s opening Celtic Cup tie against Connacht at Musgrave Park [KO 5.30pm].

Peter Malone Munster 'A' head coach Peter Malone. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Darren O’Shea captains the side and there is an all-senior back three as Stephen Fitzgerald starts at fullback and Calvin Nash and Alex Wootton are named on either flank.

Alex McHenry had an impressive pre-season and will look to impress in a centre pairing with Matt More, while James Hart provides experience in a half-back partnership with Bill Johnston. 

Academy hooker Diarmuid Barron starts with senior props Jeremy Loughman and Ciaran Parker on either side of the scrum, with O’Shea and academy prospect Sean O’Connor in the engine room. 

The back row includes UCC’s John Hodnett and academy players Jack Daly and Gavin Coombes, while Young Munster and former PBC hooker Billy Scannell, brother of senior Niall and Rory, is among the replacements. 

The Celtic Cup will run over seven consecutive weeks and the eight teams are divided into two conferences of four Welsh regions and four Irish provinces.

Leinster ‘A’ (v Ulster):

15. Hugo Keenan
14. Michael Silvester
13. Conor O’Brien
12. Tom Daly (captain)
11. Jack Kelly
10. Harry Byrne
9. Paddy Patterson

1. Ed Byrne
2. Ronan Kelleher
3. Vakh Abdaladze
4. Ross Molony
5. Jack Dunne
6. Oisín Dowling
7. Scott Penny
8. Caelan Doris.

Replacements:

16. Dan Sheehan
17. Giuseppe Coyne
18. Jack Aungier
19. Ronan Foley
20. Ronan Watters
21. Hugh O’Sullivan
22. David Hawkshaw
23. Liam Turner.

Munster ‘A’ (v Connacht):

15. Stephen Fitzgerald
14. Calvin Nash
13. Matt More
12. Alex McHenry
11. Alex Wootton
10. Bill Johnston
9. James Hart

1. Jeremy Loughman
2. Diarmuid Barron
3. Ciaran Parker
4. Darren O’Shea (captain)
5. Sean O’Connor
6. Jack Daly
7. John Hodnett
8. Gavin Coombes.

Replacements:

16. Billy Scannell
17. Cronan Gleeson
18. Keynan Knox
19. Evan Mintern
20. Dan Walsh
21. Jack Stafford
22. Ben Healy
23. Liam Coombes.

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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