Sunday 18 February 2018

Emerging Irish await call-up

Munster's Ian Keatley has been called up to the upcoming Emerging Ireland tour
Munster's Ian Keatley has been called up to the upcoming Emerging Ireland tour

Declan Rooney

With eight of the Munster squad joining Joe Schmidt on the summer tour to Argentina, all focus now turns to which of the province's next generation will make the cut for the Emerging Ireland tour.

Coached by Connacht's Dan McFarland and Ulster's Neil Doak, Emerging Ireland will embark on a three-game tour of Romania as part of the 2014 IRB Nations Cup.

It has already been confirmed that Munster fly-half Ian Keatley will take part in the tour for the second year in a row, while second-row Dave Foley is also a shoo-in to travel – unless he gets called up from standby to the senior team.

Like the senior squad, it's also likely that the Munster contingent will swell to seven or eight for the Romania trip.

JJ Hanrahan was always likely to play a part in McFarland's squad, but the recent injury to Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan's promotion to the Argentinian tour means the Kerry man is almost certain to be involved.

Sean Dougall's form has been so eye-catching in the Heineken Cup that he was an outside tip to make the Argentinian tour, so don't be surprised to see him selected.

Andrew Conway has also come into his best form in a Munster shirt towards the back end of the campaign and is a likely traveller.

The in-form Paddy Butler could be called up, while the departing James Downey would be keen to showcase his talents.

It remains to be seen if the tour has come too quickly for Cathal Sheridan on his return from an injury lay-off, while long-term casualties Duncan Casey, Mike Sherry and Stephen Archer will also be dismayed to miss out.

Starting their nine-day tour on Friday, June 13, Emerging Ireland take on Russia, then Uruguay on Wednesday, June 18, and finally Romania on Saturday, June 22.

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