U20 Grand Slam Winners and Cork All-Ireland winner included in Munster Academy Recruits

As previously confirmed, Patrick Campbell and Cian Hurley will progress from the Academy to the senior squad ahead of the new season.

Munster Rugby have confirmed five new additions to the Greencore Academy ahead of the 2023/24 season.

The new Academy recruits are Dylan Hicks, Shay McCarthy, Ben O’Connor and Ireland U20 Grand Slam winners Brian Gleeson and George Hadden.

As previously confirmed, Patrick Campbell and Cian Hurley will progress from the Academy to the senior squad ahead of the new season with Edwin Edogbo moving up ahead of the 2024/25 campaign.

Brian Gleeson

Position: No. 8

Age: 19 (5/02/2004)

The powerful back-row forward came up through the ranks at Thurles RFC and Rockwell College and has been involved in Munster underage sides for a number of years.

Gleeson was still eligible for the Ireland U19s this season but earned a place in the Ireland U20s side for the 6 Nations and was a standout performer as they clinched the Grand Slam, winning two Player of the Match awards.

He has featured for Garryowen in Division 1A of the AIL this season and has also represented Tipperary in hurling at underage level.

3 February 2023; Brian Gleeson of Ireland after the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Wales and Ireland at Stadiwm CSM in Colwyn Bay, Wales. Photo by Paul Greenwood/Sportsfile

George Hadden

Position: Prop

Age: 20 (20/02/2003)

From Gorey RFC in Wexford, Hadden started all five games at loosehead prop for the Ireland U20s this season as they won the Grand Slam.

Hadden has represented Leinster at underage level and plays his club rugby with Clontarf RFC.

Dylan Hicks

Position: Out-half

Age: 18 (25/01/2005)

Bantry Bay RFC and Colaiste Pobail Bheanntraí out-half Dylan Hicks joins the Academy straight out of school after a very successful season.

Hicks helped Bantry Bay win the Bank of Ireland Munster Clubs Boys U18 Cup in March two months after playing a part in Colaiste Pobail Bheanntraí’s first-ever win in the Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup.

This year has also seen Hicks play for the Munster U18 Clubs team and get capped by the Ireland U18 Schools side.

Shay McCarthy

Position: Wing

Age: 20 (6/11/2002)

Shay McCarthy joins the Academy having trained with the squad since the start of the year.

McCarthy lined out for the Ireland U20s in 2022 and came up through the ranks at Richmond RFC and has featured extensively for Young Munster RFC in recent seasons.

Ben O’Connor

Position: Full-back

Age: 19 (20/08/2004)

A talented sportsman, O’Connor joins the Academy having won two All-Ireland medals with Cork in hurling – at minor level in 2021 and U20 level at the weekend.

He has flourished at PBC and played a leading role as they won this year’s Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup title.

He was a Schools Senior Cup finalist with PBC last year and has lined out for Munster and Ireland at U19 level this season.


2023/24 Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Squad

Year 3: Tony Butler, Ethan Coughlan, Mark Donnelly, Edwin Edogbo, Daniel Okeke.

Year 2: Fionn Gibbons, Darragh McSweeney, Evan O’Connell, Jack Oliver, Ruadhán Quinn, Kieran Ryan.

Year 1: Brian Gleeson, George Hadden, Dylan Hicks, Shay McCarthy, Ben O’Connor.

As with previous seasons, there may be more additions to the Academy squad throughout the campaign.

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