Friday 20 October 2017

Five Connacht men in Irish U-20 squad

Most of the tighthead duties will likely be split between two Connacht players, Conan O'Donnell, pictured, and Conor Kenny. SPORTSFILE
Most of the tighthead duties will likely be split between two Connacht players, Conan O'Donnell, pictured, and Conor Kenny. SPORTSFILE

Declan Rooney

The elite of the Connacht Rugby academy will get to show their skills in the upcoming U-20 Six Nations championship, with five of the province's players included in coach Nigel Carolan's 30-man squad for the competition.

Connacht have provided four forwards and one back to the Ireland squad, with their first game against Wales now just a week away, with a trip to France to follow.

With an excellent inside knowledge of the Connacht academy as academy manager, Carolan has huge faith in the quartet he has selected.

Most of the tighthead duties will likely be split between two Connacht players, Conan O'Donnell - one of four survivors from last year's squad - and Conor Kenny, who featured for Garbally College and Buccaneers in recent years.

Sligo native Cillian Gallagher has also been called up to the squad. Gallagher can cover both the second-and back-rows and played in last year's Schools Cup final for Summerhill College.

Second-row Peter Claffey has also been included by the Irish coach, and with experience in this year's B&I Cup to fall back on, the Galwegians man, could well feature too.

Connacht's sole representative in the backs is the talented Stephen Kerins, a third Sligo native and Sligo RFC player in the squad - another former pupil of Summerhill College.

Apart from O'Donnell, just three others have played at U-20 level before, with Ulster's Jacob Stockdale and Adam McBurney, and Andrew Porter of Leinster the only survivors from last season's squad.

Irish Independent

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