O’Hanlon captured the Irish Close Championship and reached the final of the South of Ireland; Lowry won the West and North Championships as well as the Mullingar Scratch Trophy at the weekend while Kearney was crowned South of Ireland champion at Lahinch last week.
Leinster will start strong favourites to regain the title given that they also include players like Eoin Arthurs, Simon Ward and Dara Lernihan.
Munster won the title under John Carroll’s captaincy at Co Louth last year and the Bandon man remains at the helm. But Peter O’Keeffe and Cian McNamara, members of the successful side 12 months ago, have moved on to the professional ranks and Clancy Bowe and Thomas O’Flynn are other absentees. Among those promoted are Paul Buckley (Kanturk), Kieran Canty (Douglas) and Dave O’Donovan (Muskerry).
Ulster have been harder hit than most by defections to the paid ranks while Walker Cup star Jonathan Caldwell is unavailable as he is competing in the US Amateur Championship this week. Connacht are fielding a combination of youth and experience that includes East of Ireland runner-up Cathal O’Malley from Westport.
CONNACHT: S Brady (Co. Sligo), D Coyne (Galway), D Glynn (Galway), S Healy (Claremorris), J Lyons (Galway), E McCormack (Galway), G McDermott (Co. Sligo), K McDonagh (Athlone), C O’Connor (Athlone), C O’Malley (Westport). Non-Traveling Reserve: D Scully (Galway). Captain: P Killeen (Claremorris). Manager: A Wynne (Strandhill).
LEINSTER: E Arthurs (Forrest Little), C Curley (Newlands), N Gorey (Lee Valley), A Hogan (Newlands), N Kearney (Royal Dublin), D Lernihan (Castle), S Lowry (Esker Hills), R McNamara (Headfort), P O’ Hanlon (The Curragh), S Ward (Co. Louth). Non Travelling Reserve: D Morgan (Mullingar). Captain: F Gannon (Co. Louth). Manager: D Feeney (Malahide).
MUNSTER: K Borneman (Douglas), P Buckley (Kanturk), K Canty (Douglas), S Moloney (Castletroy), J Morris (Rosslare), P Murray (Limerick), A O’Callaghan (Douglas), D O’Donovan (Muskerry), G O’Flaherty (Cork), S Power (West Waterford). Non travelling reserve: K McCarthy (Kinsale). Captain: J Carroll (Bandon).
ULSTER: R Boal, D Crowe, S Crowe, P Cutler, C Doran, N Grant, A McCormick, A Morris, F Rafferty, M Sinclair. Non travelling reserve: P O’Kane. Captain: G McAleese. Manager: A Doran.