Monday 20 November 2017

Kelly latest St Michael's man to lead Irish U-20s

Jack Kelly is one of 14 Leinster players named in head coach Nigel Carolan’s squad. Photo: Sam Barnes / Sportsfile
Jack Kelly is one of 14 Leinster players named in head coach Nigel Carolan’s squad. Photo: Sam Barnes / Sportsfile

Tom Rooney

Leinster and Trinity full-back Jack Kelly has become the sixth graduate of St Michael's College to be named Ireland U-20 captain ahead of the upcoming Six Nations.

Kelly succeeds James Ryan - another product of the Ailesbury Road school - who led Ireland all the way to the runner-up spot at the U-20 World Championships last June.

Before them, Leinster regulars Dan Leavy and Luke McGrath, as well as Nick McCarthy, were the other St Michael's men charged with skippering the underage outfit in recent times.

Kelly is one of 14 Leinster players named in head coach Nigel Carolan's squad for the opening rounds of the Championship, which begins away to Scotland on Friday week at Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow (KO 8.30).

Munster supply 10 to the squad, which is completed by six Ulster players and two from Connacht, while Carolan has called on three veterans from last year's campaign: Ulster out-half Johnny McPhillips, Connacht lock Cillian Gallagher and Munster back-row John Foley.

Satisfied

Ireland won three of their five games in a hugely competitive tournament 12 months ago and, even with a host of uncapped players at this level in the group, Carolan is satisfied with what he's seen so far.

"As is the nature of U-20 rugby, we have a new-look squad this season, with just a few of last year's players returning, so it will be an exciting and new challenge for both the players and management," he said.

"We had a number of camps before Christmas and the attitude and enthusiasm that the players brought with them to these camps has been extremely positive."

Meanwhile, the IRFU confirmed that mandatory concussion management and education seminars were provided to all coaches involved in this year's Schools Cup competitions.

The focus was to identify and manage concussion from a coaching perspective and how referees will enforce existing laws to penalise dangerous play.

Irish Independent

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