Leinster Junior team looking for revenge in Munster opener
The Leinster Junior team will play Munster tomorrow in Portlaoise in the first game in this year's Junior Interprovincial Series as they seek to win this competition for the second time in three years.
Leinster are determined to gain revenge for the narrow defeat to Munster in Cobh last season.
The Portlaoise game will be followed by games against Connacht in Westport and Ulster in Coleraine and finally a very attractive game against Gydnia in Donnybrook on May 21 as part of the PolskaÉire Festival 2016.
Gydnia are the Polish champions and they will have a number of internationals on the field in Donnybrook.
The initial Leinster squad comprised representatives from 16 clubs, but the involvement of Enniscorthy in the AIL round robin play-off along with Wicklow and Enniscorthy's involvement in the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup final has ruled some valuable players out of the opening game.
Manager Derick Turner feels that the competition fulfils a valuable role in Irish rugby.
"With 80pc of Irelands rugby clubs competing at junior grade this is possibly the most representative rugby competition on the island," he says. "It gives players a chance to show what they have to offer in front of a larger audience".
The selection of a panel has not been easy, as head coach David Mahon explains: "Our first test was a game against Wicklow on Friday, April 22 in Naas.
"In that encounter we rostered 36 players and it gave us a good opportunity to run the rule over the talent we have available.
"The unavailability of players from Wicklow and Enniscorthy is a pity, but we have a great squad of players and they are all gelling well together as a team."
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, Simon Kinl, 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) and Frank Murphy, Stephen Smith, William O'Brien (Tullow).