‘There is a hell of a lot of quality in the AIL’ says Paul Cunningham

Ireland Club’s coach Paul Cunningham is expecting a stern test and plenty of top class rugby in tonight’s Ulster Bank sponsored Dalriada Cup clash with Scotland at Temple Hill, Cork (7.30pm).

‘There is a hell of a lot of quality in the AIL’ says Paul Cunningham

Holders Scotland come to Cork after an astounding 57-27 victory over England last month while Cunningham’s side enjoyed a superb victory away to a powerful French selection (16-12). With limited preparation, they coped with the abrasive French up front and produced an excellent all-round performance that Cunningham described as “brilliant, and a great advertisement for the quality of the Irish club game.”

But Old Belvedere coach knows cotland will present a very different challenge. “Any side that can put that number of points on any English team must be respected. It will undoubtedly be a big test. It was a major performance to win over in France. but in certain respects, this is bigger; it’s a fixture that has been played way more than any of the others. The fact that it isi n Cork means we should get a good crowd, given there are a few Cork and Limerick players.

“It was a great win for us in France, we actually played very well, we were very conscious that they would be big and powerful and that we needed to up the tempo of the game so that we could move them around the place. The lads did exceedingly well and we should have won the game by more. But in my view, they only did what they do continuously on Saturday afternoons in the AIL, which is a tribute to the standard of rugby being played constantly in the club game. People forget that there is a hell of a lot of quality in the AIL, some of these guys have also played provincial rugby and arguably there will be some who should still be playing at that level.”

The side will be captained from the centre by the highly rated Matt D’Arcy (Lansdowne) and that back division includes the experienced Danny Riordan of Old Belvedere, who previously played for Dolphin and UL Bohs before moving to Dublin. Back on home soil is the former Munster panellist and Cork Con player Scott Deasy, whose scoring contribution helped Lansdowne to the AIL title last season.

IRELAND:

D Riordan (Old Belvedere), J McInerney (Garryowen), S Murphy (UCD), M D’Arcy (Clontarf, captain), M Roche (Lansdowne), S Deasy (Lansdowne), N Cronin (Garryowen), I Prendiville (Lansdowne), M Abbott (Cork Constitution), G Sweeney (Cork Constitution), C Ruddock (St Mary’s College), P Donnellan (Lansdowne), C Butterworth (Lansdowne), P Pritchard (Ballynahinch), T Ryan (Clontarf).

Replacements:

P Finlay (Dublin University), D Lavery (Old Belvedere), B McGovern (St Mary’s college), C Smyth (Ballymena), J Fitzgerald (Dolphin), A Lloyd (Dublin University), J McDermott (Dublin University), R McBurney (Ballymena).

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