Ben Brady/INPHO Ulster hooker Tom Stewart.
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Ireland call up Ulster hooker Stewart amid injury concern for Kelleher
The 22-year-old Belfast native has been excellent for the northern province.

IRELAND HAVE CALLED uncapped Ulster hooker Tom Stewart into their Six Nations squad due to an injury concern over Leinster man Rónan Kelleher.

Stewart, who turned 22 earlier this month, has been in impressive form for Ulster this season and The42 understands he has joined Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad at their training camp in Portugal ahead of next weekend’s Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff.

Farrell still has Dan Sheehan and Rob Herring, a team-mate of Stewart’s with Ulster, to call on at hooker.

Stewart’s ascension towards the Ireland squad has been impossible to ignore. He came through Belfast Royal Academy and was named the Ulster schools player of the year in 2019.

Having captained underage Ulster sides, Stewart was capped by the Ireland U20s in 2020 before that season was curtailed by the pandemic.

He has progressed into the Ulster team over the last two years, making his first senior start for the province last September and racking up 11 appearances and scoring seven tries for Dan McFarland’s side this season, providing strong competition to Herring.

Stewart was part of the Emerging Ireland tour of South Africa earlier this season, starting against the Griquas and Cheetahs as he impressed the senior Ireland assistant coaches, including forwards specialist Paul O’Connell.

The Ulsterman now gets a chance to join the senior squad in Portugal ahead of the Six Nations and will be aiming to force his way into contention for a first Test cap.

Ireland are due to provide an official injury update tomorrow afternoon, when further details about Kelleher’s issue may be revealed.

Get instant updates on your province on The42 app. With Laya Healthcare, official health and wellbeing partner to Leinster, Munster and Connacht Rugby.

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