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O'Donnell leads Munster for clash with Kidney's London Irish in Cork

JJ Hanrahan is first up in Munster’s number 10 shirt tomorrow night.
Aug 16th 2018, 1:14 PM 11,681 15

TOMMY O’DONNELL will captain Munster as he makes his comeback from a shoulder injury in the province’s first pre-season friendly against Declan Kidney’s London Irish tomorrow in Musgrave Park [KO 7.30pm].

O’Donnell missed the latter stages of last season after surgery in March but is fully fit for the start of the Johann van Graan’s first full campaign in charge.

Tommy O'Donnell O'Donnell captains Munster from the openside. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Former Munster man Kidney is now the director of rugby of Championship side London Irish, with ex-Ireland assistant coach and Ulster boss Les Kiss in place as head coach.

Van Graan’s first team of the new season sees JJ Hanrahan getting an early opportunity at out-half, with new signing Joey Carbery and the rest of Munster’s Ireland internationals unavailable for some weeks yet.

Hanrahan is joined in the halfbacks by James Hart, Rory Scannell partners Dan Goggin in midfield, and an exciting back three is made up of Stephen Fitzgerald, Calvin Nash and Darren Sweetnam.

O’Donnell is joined in the back row by Dave O’Callaghan and promising academy number eight Gavin Coombes, while Fineen Wycherley and Darren O’Shea form an imposing second row pairing. Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott start in the front row.

New signings Neil Cronin and Mike Haley are among the replacements for Munster, with Tipperary-born prop Cronan Gleeson also included after training with the province during pre-season.

Gleeson, a product of Nenagh Ormond RFC, played underage rugby with Munster before spells with Mont de Marsan in France, English clubs Weston Super Mare and Bury St Edmunds, the Connacht Eagles, and Spanish side Getxo Artea. The 25-year-old featured for Old Wesley and the Ireland Clubs side last season.

Academy trio Jack Daly, Alex McHenry, Liam Coombes and Shane Daly are set to make their first Munster senior appearances off the bench tomorrow.

Munster (v London Irish):

15. Stephen Fitzgerald
14. Calvin Nash
13. Dan Goggin
12. Rory Scannell
11. Darren Sweetnam
10. JJ Hanrahan
9. James Hart

1. Jeremy Loughman
2. Kevin O’Byrne
3. Brian Scott
4. Fineen Wycherley
5. Darren O’Shea
6. Dave O’Callaghan
7. Tommy O’Donnell (captain)
8. Gavin Coombes

Replacements:

Mike Sherry
Cronan Gleeson
Dave Kilcoyne
Ciaran Parker
Billy Holland
Jean Kleyn
Sean O’Connor
Jack Daly
Neil Cronin
Jack Stafford
Ian Keatley
Shane Daly
Alex McHenry
Liam Coombes
Mike Haley

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Murray Kinsella

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