Sweetnam on Munster bench

British and Irish Cup

The former Cork senior hurler is named among the replacements on Ian Costello’s team who will be seeking a positive result to help secure a place in the quarter-finals of a tournament they won in style last season.

First year Academy player Sweetnam joins colleague Brian Haugh on the bench in a squad denied the services of Barry O’Mahony (groin), Cian Bohane (knee) and Corey Hircock (ankle). Sean Henry was due to captain the side but he is also ruled out as he travels to Edinburgh as cover for the senior side’s Heineken Cup clash.

Costello is hopeful of doing a number on Aberavon and noted that the previous game between the sides in Tralee was a hard slog.

“We won that game by eight points and dominated but failed to score in the last 15 minutes of the game,” he said. “They put up a tough rearguard action. They’re a physical and very abrasive side and they’ll be hurting from that first game.

“We’re top of the table and have four points to spare but Plymouth and Rotherham play one another this weekend. Unless it’s a draw, which would obviously suit us, one of them will pick up four or five points and that means it will go down to the wire, to the last game against Plymouth at Temple Hill in Cork next Friday.

“The good thing from our perspective is we know what we have to do, we’re in control of the group and having played poorly in our last game (a 9-9 draw against Rotherham) last month, we are well aware of what is required this time.

“We really do have to show considerable improvement and it’s a good thing to know that.”

Meanwhile, Leinster will be involved in a top of the table Pool 5 clash with Pontypridd at Donnybrook today (2pm). Both sides are locked on 15 points at the top, with Jersey stuck down in third, eight points adrift. This could well be a winner-takes-all scenario, although Leinster, with an away game against Leeds Carnegie, probably need the win more.

Leinster will be able to field a strong team, with David Kearney, Andrew Conway, Brendan Macken and Fionn Carr leading the charge in the backs while Dominic Ryan spearheads the challenge up front alongside his captain Jack McGrath.

MUNSTER A: D Hurley; D Barnes, S Deasy, I Dineen, R O’Mahony; JJ Hanrahan, C Sheridan; J Cronin, D Casey, A Cotter; D Foley, I Nagle; Dave O’Callaghan, S Dougall, CJ Stander.

Replacements: N Scannell, C Condon, B Hayes, R Murphy, B Haugh, J Holland, D Sweetnam.

LEINSTER A: D Kearney, A Conway, B Macken, J Coghlan, F Carr, N Reid, J Cooney, J McGrath (captain), T Sexton, J Hagan, B Marshall, M Flanagan, D Ryan, L Auva’a, C Gilsenan.

Replacements: J Tracy, J O’Connell, J Conan, J van der Flier, L McGrath, C Marsh, A Boyle.

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