Ulster Bank League profiles: Leamy acquisition a coup for Garryowen

James McInerney, Garryowen, scores against Clontarf last season. Pic: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

"The British & Irish Cup is good for getting a Munster group together but most of those lads have put on a Munster Jersey at some stage, they don’t need to know what it's like. They’ve done that loads of times."

The Dooradoyle outfit are shorn of some big names in last season’s captain Josh Hrstich who secured a contract in Hong Kong while Shane Buckley and Jordan Coghlan have pursued their careers across the channel in Nottingham.

Having said that, the addition of Denis Leamy to the coaching team is a phenomenal coup for Garryowen and Conan Doyle is sure the two-time Heineken Cup winner will “get the most out of the players”.

The panel is brimming with youth as Sam Arnold, Alex Wootton, Steve McMahon, Ireland U20 lock Sean O’Connor and theJohnston brothers, David and Bill, are among a team that has every reason to believe they can again make the play-offs.

How will this season unfold for the three-time league champions? Conan Doyle offers his thoughts.

Coaches: Conan Doyle, Denis Leamy, Seamie McDermott, John Mark Griffin.

Captain:Neil Cronin

Last year’s finish: 5th

Last title: 2007

Betting: 14/1

First four fixtures: Lansdowne (H) Old Belvedere (A) Cork Constitution (H) Clontarf (A)

Players In: Niall Horan (Shannon), Sean O’Connor (Cashel), Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch), Ger Horan (Bective Rangers); Barra O’Byrne (UCC)

Players Out: Ben Rowley (Canada), Barry McNamara (Richmond), Liam Cronin (Dublin University) Aaron McCloskey (Young Munster), Shane Buckley (Nottingham) Jordan Coghlan (Nottingham) Dave Sherry (Old Belvedere) Josh Hrstich (Hong Kong)

Hopes and expectations

“You’re making sure that by the end, you’re still in Division 1A but if we’re looking for an improvement then we want to finish in the top four. If we do that then we’re putting ourselves in the position to win the competition altogether, that has to be the goal every year.

Biggest obstacle 

"It’s going to be a challenge getting lads up to speed so it’s about trying to gel them together. We’re happy for the lads to move on; three of them have secured contracts.

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