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Seven make step up to Leinster Academy 

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Ryan Baird. Photo: Sportsfile

Ryan Baird. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Ryan Baird. Photo: Sportsfile

Leinster will welcome seven members of last season's unbeaten Ireland U-20 squad into their academy when training resumes next week.

The renowned production line has seen five players, including star second-row Ryan Baird, graduate to the senior squad for the upcoming campaign and Niall Comerford and Seán O'Brien of UCD, Clontarf pair Andrew Smith and Alex Soroka, Trinity duo Joe McCarthy and Max O'Reilly, and Old Belvedere's Joe McKee will all be on Year One deals.

It remains to be seen if they will get a chance to finish their Grand Slam bid with the national side, with the campaign currently suspended after three wins. Noel McNamara, who coaches that side but also manages the Leinster Academy, welcomed the new faces.

"As with any year we are delighted to see a group of young men move on to senior contracts and we wish those five players the very best of luck," he said of Baird, Harry Byrne, Jack Dunne, Tommy O'Brien and Dan Sheehan. "Then it's time to get excited for the next group coming in and seeing how they develop."

Leinster Academy 2020/'21

Year Three -David Hawkshaw, Michael Milne (8 caps), Aaron O'Sullivan, Patrick Patterson (3 caps), Michael Silvester.

Year Two - Tom Clarkson, Brian Deeny, Cormac Foley, Martin Moloney, Charlie Ryan, Liam Turner.

Year One - Niall Comerford, Joe McCarthy, John McKee, Seán O'Brien, Max O'Reilly, Andrew Smith, Alex Soroka.

Irish Independent