A number of candidates for places in the Ireland Under-20 squad for the forthcoming Six Nations Championship will be on parade and anxious to catch the eye when the Munster Development XV take on an Ireland Selection at Thomond Park this afternoon at 1pm, with admission free from the east stand side of the stadium.
The game, which is notable for Paul O’Connell’s role as assistant coach to Greig Oliver, features many players familiar for their achievements on the schools front over the past few years.
This is the second of two trial games for the Nigel Carolan-coached national team, which lost the opener by 57-26 to Leinster.
Oliver, a former Scotland scrum-half and now a Munster Player Development Officer, was delighted to see 14 Munster players selected in the December training camps for the Ireland U20s as part of preparations for the 2017 Six Nations Championship.
“It’s great to have such excellent representation,” Oliver said.
“Fineen Wicherley, Calvin Nash, and Gavin Coombes are all in the full academy with a large representation coming from our sub-academy ranks also. Every time these lads take to the field, they have the opportunity to get noticed, be it in the AIL or the B&I Cup. We get the footage for all these games and use that to track their progress.”
Munster players John Madigan and David Johnston are included in the provincial side along with six academy players; Wicherley, Coombes, Liam O’Connor, Rory Burke, Greg O’Shea, and Steven McMahon. Academy full-back/winger Stephen Fitzgerald is in the replacements having shaken off a long-term ankle injury while his brother, Conor, starts at out-half.
Munster Development XV:
S McMahon; L Coombes (Garryowen), D Johnston (Capt.), D McCarthy (Garryowen), G O’Shea; C Fitzgerald (Shannon), J Stafford (Shannon); L O’Connor, N Mulcahy (Shannon), R Burke; F Wycherley, J Madigan; B Fallon (Garryowen), J Daly (Castleisland), G Coombes. Replacements: D Barron (UCC), J French (Bandon Gram), R O’Donovan (UCC), R Coffey (Shannon), E Mintern (Cork Con), J Lyons (Young Munster), A Molloy (Waterpark), S Fitzgerald. *Players without club affiliation are members of Munster academy.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved