The brand new British & Irish Cup has given the fringe players an opportunity to show their skills and Munster have duly reached the semi-finals with a 100% record from their five group matches. As they have twice beaten Ulster in the A Interprovincial Championship, they will start warm favourites to go on to meet the winners of Sunday’s second semi-final between Cornish Pirates and Doncaster Knights.
The Munster senior squad extends to 27 players for the 6.30pm Magners League start against the Ospreys and some of those not required for that game may be transferred to the A side.
In any event, Foley is assured of having a very strong side as they aspire to build on wins so far over Coventry, Bristol, Nottingham, Neath and Heriots. The squad contains several players who have regularly graced the full Munster team, including Duncan Williams, Jeremy Manning, Stephen Archer and Tommy O’Donnell.
“A lot of the guys went well against Connacht on Sunday and it’s good to see them being exposed in a competitive, highly-charged game with a lot to win and lose,” he said.
“It was a good test for them mentally. Out-half Declan Cusack has made good strides and has a great attitude. He’s one of those guys that coaches like because he never complains and just gets on with it and does everything that’s asked of him. He would have grown up and played a lot with Keith Earls along the way. When you see a good friend go a long way, there would be a belief if he can do it, why can’t I?
“If they can come to us with a great attitude, we can guide them into an area where they can flourish.
Hopefully, we’re doing that with the senior side. Obviously, one is very result-driven and the other offers a little bit of leeway with development.”
MUNSTER SQUAD: B. O’Hara (UL Bohemian); C. Murray (Garryowen), D. Kiloynce (UL Bohs), D. O’Callaghan (UCC), D. Cusack (Thomond), D. Williams (Cork Con), E. Kelly (UL/Bohs), E. Grace (Shannon), G. Quinn-McDonough (Shannon), I. Nagle (Cork Con), J. Manning (Cork Con), L. O’Dea (Shannon), D. Maloney (UL/Bohs), M. Kelleher (Richmond), M. Sherry (Garryowen), M. Lawler (Shannon), P. O’Regan (UL/Bohs), P. Butler (Shannon), R. O’Mahony (Garryowen), S. Henry (UL/Bohs), S. Scanlon (UCC), S. Archer (Cork Con), t. O’Donnell (UL/Bohs).