Leinster big guns return for crucial Connacht clash

GORDON D’ARCY will partner Shane Horgan in the centre for Leinster’s critical trip to Galway to play Connacht in the Celtic League tomorrow.

Coach Michael Cheka has also named Girvan Dempsey at full-back, while Guy Easterby partners skipper Felipe Contepomi at half-back.

In the pack, Eric Miller has been named in a strong back three that includes Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Leinster Player of the Month for November - Keith Gleeson - and Jamie Heaslip.

Ex-Connacht star Bernard Jackman lines up in the front row alongside Reggie Corrigan and Will Green.

Elsewhere, Mark McCall has delayed naming his Ulster team to face Munster at Musgrave Park tomorrow night, choosing instead to name a squad of 22.

The players involved with the Irish squad throughout the autumn international period returned to training at Newforge last Monday for the first time in four weeks and McCall is said to be taking advantage of a couple of extra days before announcing his starting XV for the Celtic League match.

In Connacht, one of the most promising prop forwards in the country has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.

Connacht’s Ronan Loughney, a former Irish Youths, U-19 and U-21 international, made his senior debut in a pre-season victory over Leicester, having signed for Michael Bradley’s side on a development contract.

The Galway native made his competitive debut in the Celtic League against Edinburgh at Murrayfield in September and has been sprung from the bench in a few games since.

“He has made huge progress this season, so this is a terrible blow for him,” said Bradley.

“He joined us this year on a development contract but he has worked extremely hard and got game time as a result. He was making huge strides so this is a bad blow for him and us.

“Injuries, unfortunately, are part and parcel of rugby and I have no doubt he has the commitment and exposure to make a full recovery from this.”

Loughney turned 21 at the start of last month and has the ability to play both at loose and tight head.

A product of the Corinthians club in Galway, he subsequently joined UL Bohs when he went to study in Limerick, but last season linked up with Galwegians.

He played at tighthead on the Irish U-21 team at the World Cup in Argentina last season.

LEINSTER: G Dempsey; K Lewis, G D’Arcy, S Horgan, R Kearney; F Contepomi (C), G Easterby; R Corrigan, B Jackman, W Green; B Williams, B Gissing; E Miller, K Gleeson, J Heaslip.

Replacements from: B Blaney, E Byrne, C Jowitt, A Byrnes, N onan, B O’Riordan, J Hepworth, E Hickey.

ULSTER: (from) Forwards: S. Best, B. Young, R. Moore, R. Best, N. Brady, J. Harrison, M. McCullough, R. Caldwell, N. Best, N. McMillan, R. Wilson, S. Ferris.

Backs: I. Boss, K. Campbell, D. Humphreys, A. Larkin, P. Steinmetz, K. Maggs, A. Trimble, J. Topping, T. Bowe, B Cunningham.

More in this section

CourtsRugbyCeltic LeaguePlace: GalwayPlace: Musgrave ParkPlace: NewforgePlace: ConnachtPlace: EdinburghPlace: MurrayfieldPlace: LimerickPlace: ArgentinaPerson: Gordon D’ArcyPerson: Shane HorganPerson: Michael ChekaPerson: Girvan DempseyPerson: Guy EasterbyPerson: Felipe ContepomiPerson: Eric MillerPerson: Keith GleesonPerson: Jamie HeaslipPerson: Bernard JackmanPerson: Reggie CorriganPerson: Will GreenPerson: Mark McCallPerson: McCallPerson: Ronan LoughneyPerson: Michael BradleyPerson: BradleyPerson: LoughneyPerson: G DempseyPerson: K LewisPerson: G D’ArcyPerson: S HorganPerson: R KearneyPerson: F ContepomiPerson: G EasterbyPerson: R CorriganPerson: B JackmanPerson: W GreenPerson: B WilliamsPerson: B GissingPerson: E MillerPerson: K GleesonPerson: J HeaslipPerson: B BlaneyPerson: E ByrnePerson: C JowittPerson: A ByrnesPerson: N onanPerson: B O’RiordanPerson: J HepworthPerson: E HickeyPerson: S. BestPerson: B. YoungPerson: R. MoorePerson: R. BestPerson: N. BradyPerson: J. HarrisonPerson: M. McCulloughPerson: R. CaldwellPerson: N. BestPerson: N. McMillanPerson: R. WilsonPerson: S. FerrisPerson: I. BossPerson: K. CampbellPerson: D. HumphreysPerson: A. LarkinPerson: P. SteinmetzPerson: K. MaggsPerson: A. TrimblePerson: J. ToppingPerson: T. BowePerson: B CunninghamEvent: Celtic LeagueOrganisation: LeinsterOrganisation: ConnachtOrganisation: Bank of ScotlandOrganisation: UlsterOrganisation: MunsterOrganisation: Irish YouthsOrganisation: LeicesterOrganisation: CorinthiansOrganisation: UL BohsOrganisation: Irish U-21 team
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