Leinster V Munster in Portlaoise
Leinster V Munster in Portlaoise
The Leinster Junior Interprovincial team play Munster this Saturday 30th April in Portlaoise in the first game in this year’s Junior interprovincial series. The clash with Munster will define the ambitions of Leinster as they seek to win this competition for the second time in three years.
The game on Saturday will see a Leinster side determined to gain of revenge the narrow defeat by Munster in Cobh last season. The Portlaoise game will be followed with games against Connacht in Westport and Ulster in Coleraine. These three games are followed with a very attractive game against Gydnia in Donnybrook on the 21st May. Gydnia are the Polish Champions and they will have a number of International players playing in this game against the Leinster Juniors.
The last few weeks have seen frantic preparations for the annual outing of the cream of junior rugby talent. The initial Leinster squad comprised of representatives from 16 clubs, but the involvement of Enniscorthy in the AIL round robin playoff along with Wicklow and Enniscorthy’s involvement in the Town’s Cup final have ruled some valuable players out of the opening game. This has denied head coach David Mahon some of the best players in the provence. Assistant coach Niall Moran says “it is a very difficult series to win and you would like to be able to select players from all of the Leinster Junior clubs”.
Manager Derick Turner says that the competition fulfils a valuable role in Irish rugby: “With 80% of Irelands rugby clubs competing at junior grade this is possibly the most representative rugby competition on the island. It gives players a chance to show what they have to offer in front of a larger audience”. David Mahon head coach says he is only too aware of the challenges ahead and the high standard of the opposition we face, but the quality of players in the Leinster Junior leagues is impressive.
The selection of the panel to participate in this year’s competition has been a painstaking process. Narrowing down the panel has not been easy: “Our first testing of the water was a game against Wicklow on Friday 22nd April 2016 in Naas. In that encounter we roistered 36 players and it gave us a good opportunity to run the rule over the talent we have available. Obviously the unavailability of players from Wicklow and Enniscorthy may put a dent in our favourites tag, but we have a great squad of players and they are all gelling well together as a team”.
Assistant Manager Damien Curley said that he is particularly delighted to be able to make a contribution to the Leinster Junior set up.
Manager Derick Turner said that the competition will throw up some great contests: “There is never anything easy in these interprovincial games. The challenge is to knit players from different clubs who would have contrasting styles into a cohesive unit. It is a significant challenge, but it is a great opportunity for junior players to represent their Province. “It also gives players a chance to play with players they would normally be opposing or never play against”
Leinster Junior Panel
Gary Robb, Simon Kinsella, Marcus McAllister, John Shine,( Malahide) Conor McNally, James Rooney, Mark Rooney , James McGaghy, (Ashbourne). Harry Lalor, Gavin Thompson, Robin Foot, (Portlaoise) Liam Cuddy, Wesley Carter, David O’Connor, (Kilkenny), Neil Finlay, SimonKinl, Paul Nolan, Chris Jebb,(Clondalkin) William Groome, (Edenderry) Matt Bater, Jordan Ahern , Stephen Horan, Darragh Bellanova, Willian Earle, (Gorey), Armand Smit, (Portarlington), Ronan Costello, Ross Shaughnessy, Cian Glennon, ( De La Salle Palmerston), Conor Hayes, Luice Pollard (Coolmine), Arthur Brabazon,(Mullingar), Joe Gerry, (Nth Kildare), Hubie Connolly, (Longford), Frank Murphy, Stephen Smith, William O’Brien, (Tullow)
Derick Turner Manager Longford RFC
Damien Curley Assistant Manager Longford RFC
David Mahon Head Coach and backs Monkstown RFC
Niall Moran Forwards Coach Longford RFC
Mark Whitehead Defence Coach Coolmine RFC
Noel Ferguson Baggage Master Wexford RFC
Blaithine Brady Physiotherapist Monkstown RFC
Dr. Paul Trueick Team Doctor Longford RFC
Damien Strict Video Analyst Newbridge RFC
Harry Nicholls PRO Portlaoise RFC