The Ireland Club XV team to play Scotland Club XV in the opening game of the 2020 Club International Series at Netherdale on Friday (kick-off 7.30pm) has been named by Gearóid Prendergast.
Four players who took part in the 2019 series return and are joined by two other players with previous experience at this level, in a starting line-up which has an average age of 23 years.
Alan Kennedy, who featured against England Counties in 2017 and has been named as captain, with the Young Munster man set to start alongside Brian Hayes in the second row. John Sutton and Andy Keating are named in the front row with the uncapped Conor Maguire.
Michael Melia will start his fifth consecutive club international on Friday night when he packs down in the back row with Paul Derham and John Foley.
Aran Hehir and James Taylor form the half back partnership, while outside Taylor will be his UCC club mate Peter Sylvester. Pa Ryan is at outside centre the back three consisting of Jamie Heuston, Colm Hogan and Jack Ringrose.
Commenting on the team selection, Head Coach Gearóid Prendergast said:
“I’m excited to be working with this group of players. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last few weeks of preparation and I think they’re going to grab this opportunity with both hands. They’re young, they’re ambitious and above all talented. We’ve sprinkled some experience in there, but a lot of these guys will be playing in a club international for the first time so it’s massively exciting for them.”
Ireland Club XV Squad
15. Jamie Heuston (Garryowen), 14. Colm Hogan (Dublin University), 13. Pa Ryan (Shannon), 12. Peter Sylvester (UCC), 11. Jack Ringrose (UCD), 10. James Taylor (UCC), 9. Aran Hehir (Shannon),
1. Conor Maguire (Old Wesley). 2. John Sutton (Cork Constitution), 3. Andrew Keating (Garryowen), 4. Brian Hayes (Cork Constitution), 5. Alan Kennedy (Young Munster), 6. Michael Melia (Terenure College), 7. John Foley (Young Munster), 8. Paul Derham (Old Wesley).
16. Adam Clarkin (Terenure College), 17. Corrie Barrett (Garryowen), 18. JP Phelan (Clontarf), 19. Peter Claffey (Terenure College), 20. Ryan Murphy (UCC), 21. Gerry Hurley (Cork Constitution), 22. Bryan Fitzgerald (Garryowen), 23. Matthew Byrne (Terenure College).
2020 Club International Series Fixtures:
Scotland Club XV v Ireland Club XV
Friday, January 31, kick-off 7.30pm
Ireland Club XV v Scotland Club XV
Friday, February 7, kick-off 5.45pm
Energia Park, Donnybrook.