Last weekend the national men’s, women’s and U20’s rugby sides hammered their Scottish visitors and the Tom Tierney and Mick O’Driscoll’s coached side bid to continue that trend at Cork Constitution’s impressive headquarters.
Last year the club hosted an Ireland v England fixture (which Ireland won 30-20) and organisers anticipate a bigger attendance on this occasion.
Constitution stalwart, former Munster and Ireland second rower O’Driscoll is relishing a return to his home patch as Ireland forwards coach. “We can’t use any Academy or Development players, or any elite players, obviously we can’t use any U20’s and I think it is right because it’s a proper club team as such. The preparation has been quite good; it’s tough going I suppose for guys who have been playing on a Saturday and then going up to Portlaoise every Sunday morning for training. ”
Is the selection a fair reflection of the talent in the All-Ireland League? “Yes, I hope so, it’s a very difficult team to pick; I suppose the process is that each club gets the opportunity to nominate guys they think should be in it, we would have gone by that in one sense but did look outside that also. I suppose we stuck mainly to what the other coaches in their own clubs would have stuck with, and then we just broke it down. We looked at who played for the team before, and who was playing well at the moment.
“There are a lot of guys from Dublin in it and that’s a reflection of where the leagues are at right now. It is a difficult team to pick and there will be guys who are disappointed, guys who weren’t in the broader squad who were disappointed, but that’s a reflection possibly of the good level of club rugby, particularly Division 1A, that’s there at the moment.”
IRISH CLUBS XV: D Riordan (Old Belvedere), C Aherne (Lansdowne), S Morrow (Ballynahinch), M Roche (Old Belvedere), M McGrath (Clontarf), D Joyce (Clontarf), G Hurley (Cork Constitution), C McMahon (St Mary’s College), G Slattery (Young Munster), C Condon (Dolphin), D Moore (Old Belvedere), F Walsh (Terenure), W Earl (Lansdowne), W Ryan (Cork Constitution), C Butterworth (Lansdowne).
Replacements. T Moran (Lansdowne), I Hirst (Clontarf), D Lavery (Old Belvedere), S Walsh (Cashel), J Ryan (Cork Constitution), A.N.Other, R McMaster (Queens), B Daly (UCD).