Saturday 17 February 2018

O'Loughlin sets sights on inter-pro silverware

James Taylor in action for the Munster U19s in their win over Connacht last weekend.
James Taylor in action for the Munster U19s in their win over Connacht last weekend.

The future looks bright for Munster, with various talented underage squads recording four wins from four interpro clashes thus far.

The Combined U-20 and Development Squad continue their campaign tonight at Thomond Park against Ulster after they started the series with a 35-0 win over Connacht last weekend.

There is a double-header in CIT tomorrow as the U-18 Schools side (1.0) and U-19s (3.0) face their Ulster counterparts.

On Sunday, the U-18 Clubs team, who won 19-14 in Ulster last week, host Leinster at Thomond Park at 2.30.

The U-19s beat Connacht 35-0 last weekend while the U-18 Schools team have won both of their clashes in their three-team competition against Ulster and Leinster.

Munster's coach development officer Fiach O'Loughlin is the head coach of the U-18 Schools side and his team are hoping to do the double over Ulster tomorrow after a strong start to a competition that sees them play tomorrow's opponents and Leinster at home and away.

"We've beaten Ulster already so they will be coming down for revenge," says O'Loughlin. "But we'll want to improve on the performance against them in the first game and we have a lot of things to look at.

"It's a goal for us to really go after the championship now that we've got two wins under our belt so we've a whole lot to play for with the home and away basis.

I think it's a fantastic format because it gives the players extra scope to improve themselves if they do have a bad game that they can put it right."

A narrow defeat to the Italy U-18s preceded the Interpro Series and that was a big help to O'Loughlin's squad, who first met up last January.

"It was brilliant prep to play the Italian U-18s," O'Loughlin says. "We had played the French U-18 team earlier in the year when we hadn't really trained together and that was a fantastic opportunity for them as well.

"We knew the Italy game was going to be a good marker for us before we started the Interpros and we were delighted for our players to get into Thomond Park, that was a real bonus for us as we played Leinster there as well."

Irish Independent

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