Thursday 22 February 2018

Matt D'Arcy to lead club stalwarts in Scottish test

Matt D'Arcy, Clontarf,
Matt D'Arcy, Clontarf,
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

In-form Clontarf centre Matt D'Arcy will lead Ireland's defence of the Dal Riada Cup against Scotland in Glasgow this evening (7.30).

D'Arcy scored a brilliant hat-trick in 'Tarf's impressive win over UCD last weekend while throughout the season as a whole, he has been one of the stand-out players in Division 1A.

Lansdowne's Mark Roche will partner D'Arcy in the centre while coach Paul Cunningham (Old Belvedere) has paired Cork Constitution's Darragh Lyons and Munster academy scrum-half Neil Cronin, younger brother of Ireland international, Sean, at half-back.

Roche is one of three players included in the starting XV from last year's 28-3 win over Scotland in Cork.

Belvo's Danny Riordan, who picked up the 2014 Division 1A player of the year award and also scored two tries in last year's fixture, is again named at full-back while Terenure's Fergal Walsh is in the second-row.

Amongst the new faces included in Cunningham's side are 'Nure's Mark O'Neill who is Division 1A's top try-scorer and Paul Pritchard is rewarded for his excellent form with Ballynahinch with a start at openside flanker.

Ian Prendiville, Andrew O'Driscoll and Declan Lavery make up a front-row that has plenty of experience.

Stephen Mulholland (Ballymena) is the only player included in the starting team who plays outside of the Ulster Bank League's top division.

The Ireland club team will also take on their French counterparts at the Aviva Stadium next weekend as part of a double-header with the men's Six Nations clash.

Verdict: Ireland

Ireland Clubs - D Riordan; S O'Neill, M Roche, M D'Arcy (capt), E O'Keeffe; D Lyons, N Cronin; I Prendiville, A O'Driscoll, D Lavery; S Gardner, F Walsh; S Mulholland, P Pritchard, J Slattery.

Reps: E Rossiter, G Sweeney, P O'Shea, P Walsh, K O'Gorman, A Lloyd, S Murphy, K McGrath.

Irish Independent

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