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Pro12 team news: Gilroy and Marshall the leading lights in weakened Ulster XV

The entire 23-man squad travelling to Thomond Park tomorrow is Irish-qualified.

Luke Marshall tries to brush off Kevin McLaughlin in his side's 27-19 win.
Luke Marshall tries to brush off Kevin McLaughlin in his side's 27-19 win.
Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd

CRAIG GILROY RETURNS to the scene of his finest moment in an Ulster jersey as he spearheads the visitor’s attack against Munster.

The winger blazed past five Munster players and scored an excellent try after receiving a Stefan Terblanche pass, in the first-half of Ulster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final win at Thomond Park.

Gilroy, who scored a try on his senior Ireland debut in November, is one of only four players retained by coach Mark Anscombe following the province’s 27-19 win over Leinster last Friday.

The other men retained in the starting XV are Luke Marshall, in the backs, and forwards Neil McComb and Robbie Diack.

Despite resting a number of players and having a large contingent involved in an Ireland training camp in Dublin this weekend, Ulster are able to field an all Irish-qualified match day squad.

Youthful backline

Adam D’Arcy will make his first start of the season at fullback and will be joined in the back three Gilroy and Chris Cochrane, 24.

The promising Michael Allen will partner Marshall in midfield, with Paul Marshall and Niall O’Connor forming a new half back combination.

Up front, Callum Black, Rob Herring and Adam Macklin make up an all new front row, while Lewis Stevenson has returned from an eight week injury lay off to partner McComb in the engine room.

Roger Wilson will captain the team from number 8 and he will be assisted in the back row by Mike McComish and Diack.

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There are opportunities on the bench for academy players Ali Birch, Stuart Olding, Ricky Andrew and Alan O’Connor, who made his debut against Leinster, his home province, last weekend.

Hooker Niall Annett, prop Ricky Lutton and scrumhalf Michael Heaney provide further back up. Experienced prop Tom Court, who enjoyed a man-of-the-match performance last weekend, is also included in Ulster’s squad as the look for their 12th successive league win.

Kick-off at Thomond Park tomorrow is 5:30pm and TheScore.ie will be providing liveblog coverage from 5pm.

Ulster: A D’Arcy; C Cochrane, M Allen, L Marshall, C Gilroy; N O’Connor, P Marshall; C Black, R Herring, A Macklin; L Stevenson, N McComb; R Diack, M McComish, R Wilson.

Replacements: N Annett, R Lutton, T Court, A O’Connor, A Birch, M Heaney, S Olding, R Andrew.

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Patrick McCarry

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