The team is backboned by four of PBC Cork’s successful 2007 Munster Schools Senior Cup winning panel, including Gavin Nugent (fullback), Simon Zebo (left wing), David O’Driscoll (scrumhalf) and Brian O’Hara (flank), who captains the side.
O’Hara, son of former Ireland and Munster flanker Pat, lines up alongside Rockwell College’s Pat Butler and David O’Callaghan from Midleton College in an all-Munster back row.
The Ireland squad assembled in Dublin last weekend in preparation for the visit of France Schools, and tonight’s showcase for Irish schools rugby forms the first of four home fixtures for the U-18s this season. Rugby enthusiasts will be in for an Easter treat when the traditional Schools Six Nations festival will be hosted in Cork at venues yet to be confirmed.
The Ireland team is coached by Peter Melia, who is assisted by Paul Barr.
IRELAND SCHOOLS U-18 (v France Schools U-18): G Nugent (PBC Cork); D McCarthy (Castletroy College), N Spence (Wallace High School), M Kelleher (St Munchin’s College), S Zebo (PBC Cork); L Marshall (Ballymena Academy), D O’Driscoll (PBC Cork); J O’Connell (Clongowes Wood College), N Annett (Methodist College), D Buckley (Blackrock College); B Hayes (CBC Cork), B Marshall St Andrews College); P Butler (Rockwell College), B O’Hara (PBC Cork) (capt), D O’Callaghan (Midleton College).
Replacements: R O’Sullivan (PBC Bray), B Cagney (PBC Cork), J Simpson (Banbridge Academy), G Burke (St Munchin’s College), J Bloomfield (Coleraine AI), J McKinney (Campbell College), A Warwicker (Coleraine AI), B Nangle (Belfast Royal Academy), M Atkinson (Grosvenor GS), M Allen (Methodist College).
IRELAND U18 SCHOOLS’ 2008 SIX NATIONS FESTIVAL FIXTURES: Ireland v Wales, Wednesday March 26, Cork (TBC); Ireland v Scotland, Saturday March 29, Cork (TBC); Ireland v Italy, Tuesday April 1, Cork (TBC).