The Ireland Club team, sponsored by Ulster Bank, has been confirmed for Friday night’s Club International fixture against their Scottish counterparts in Dubarry Park, Athlone with three Limerick clubs represented.
Head Coach Morgan Lennon and Assistant Coach Johne Murphy an have named an exciting side, with players drawn from 12 clubs.
The side will be captained by Garryowen scrum-half Neil Cronin, who returns for his fifth campaign with the Club side. Cronin is one of the top points scorers in this season’s Ulster Bank League, with 135 points to his name.
Cronin will look to marshal a forward pack that sees Old Wesley’s Cronan Glesson line up in the front-row alongside former Canada U20 hooker Patrick Finlay and Young Munster’s Colm Skehan, who picked up the Ulster Bank League Munster Club Player of the Year last season.
12. The number of Clubs represented in the @UlsterBankRugby Ireland Club Team https://t.co/XALQIy6ZWP @terenurerugby @LansdowneFC @CorkConRugby @ClontarfRugby @GarryowenFC @OldWesleyRFC @DUFCRUGBY @YoungMunsterRFC @OldBelvedereRFC @StMarysRFC @NaasRFC @banbridgerugby pic.twitter.com/LBmjygG59M
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 21, 2018
Terenure College provide the second-row pairing, with Michael Melia and former Ireland U20 Alex Thompson packing down in the engine room.
In the back-row, Lansdowne’s Jack Dwan and Clontarf’s Michael Noone have both represented Ireland at U20 level, while their back-row partner Joe McSwiney has the distinction of winning UBL medals with both Lansdowne and Cork Con in recent seasons.
In the backs, Cronin’s Garryowen teammate Jamie Gavin will wear the number 10 jersey, and outside him in the centres, Clontarf’s Matt D’Arcy, is set for his fourth stint with the Club side and he partners Cork Con’s Niall Kenneally, who last season captained his club to success in the Ulster Bank League, the Bateman Cup and the Munster Senior Cup.
In the back three, Lansdowne wingers Daniel McEvoy and Harry Brennan have both scored five tries each this season, with McEvoy picking up the inaugural #UBLTry Of the Month award back in September. Terenure’s Jack Swaine lines out at full-back to complete the starting 15.
Amongst the replacements, Ed Rossiter and Ciaran Ruddock are both captains of their respective clubs this season, and Michael Cromie has had stints playing with Rotherham Titans and Rodez and is one of the driving forces in the Banbridge pack as they challenge for promotion from Division 1B.
Strong-carrying back rower Paulie Tolofua is a former Naas Player of the Year winner and Division 2A Player of the Year nominee.
Trinity scrum half Angus Lloyd played for both Ulster and Munster last season, including an appearance off the bench for the latter against Toulouse in last April’s Champions Cup quarter-final win, and Corkman Eamonn Mills, who is in his third season at Lansdowne, was awarded the Ulster Bank League Leinster Club Player of the Year award last season.
This is the twelfth season of the Club International fixture between Ireland and Scotland, and as it stands, Ireland’s record is six wins and five defeats.
The sides will compete for the Dalriada Cup, which was first introduced in 2011 and the Scottish side have lifted it on the last two occasions – 2015 at Netherdale and 2016 at Temple Hill.
Tickets for the game are available via Buccaneers RFC and are priced as follows; Stand €12, Terrace €10, Child & Students €5 – under 16s are free when accompanied by an adult.
Ireland Club International Team & Replacements (v Scotland Clubs, Dalriada Cup, Friday, Februray 23, 7.30, Dubarry Park, Athlone)
15. Jake Swaine – Tenenure College RFC
14. Harry Brennan – Lansdowne FC
13. Niall Kenneally – Cork Constitution FC
12. Matt D’Arcy – Clontarf RFC*
11. Dan McEvoy – Lansdowne FC
10. Jamie Gavin – Garryowen FC
9. Neil Cronin – Garryowen FC*
1. Cronan Gleeson – Old Wesley RFC
2. Patrick Finlay – Dublin University FC
3. Colm Skehan – Young Munster RFC
4. Alex Thompson – Terenure College RFC
5. Michael Melia – Tenenure College RFC
6. Jack Dwan – Lansdowne FC
7. Joe McSwiney – Cork Constitution FC
8. Michael Noone – Clontarf RFC
16. Eddie Rossiter – Old Belvedere RFC*
17. Tom O’Reilly – St. Marys College RFC
18. Michael Cromie – Banbridge RFC
19. Ciaran Ruddock – St. Marys College RFC*
20. Paulie Tolfua – Naas RFC
21. Angus Lloyd – Dublin University FC*
22. Mark O’Neill – Tenenure College RFC
23. Eamonn Mills – Lansdowne FC
*Denotes Previously Capped at this Level.
Ireland Club XV Management
Head Coach – Morgan Lennon
Assistant Coach – Johne Murphy
Team Manager – Maurice Hartery
Baggage Master – David Jermyn
S & C Coach – Cathal Murtagh
Doctor – Stuart O’Flanagan
Physio – Ailbe McCormack
Ireland Club XV Fixtures
Ireland Club XV v Scotland Clubs
Friday, February 23, kick-off 7.30pm
Dubarry Park, Athone, Co.Westmeath
Scotland Clubs v Ireland Club XV
Friday, March 16, kick-off 7.30pm