Sunday 17 December 2017

Starlets first under glare

RUGBY: It will be a day of firsts in Dublin 4 this afternoon as the new Aviva Stadium opens its gates for the venue's opening game (2.30).

While there is plenty of sporting action on the other side of the River Liffey in Croke Park, rugby chiefs still believe a decent crowd will turn up for the O2 challenge.

The game sees an academy side from Connacht and Munster face their counterparts from Leinster and Ulster.

The Connacht/Munster selection -- which will be captained from scrum-half by Connacht's Mark Dolan, who was in the Ireland U-18 Club side in 2009 -- has a back three of Callum Boland at full-back, with Tadhg Leader on the right wing and fellow Connacht player Shane Leydon on the left.

Up front, Sligo's Aaron Spring will prop down alongside Paul Mullen and Kieran Stokes from Munster, while the second row comprises two 2010 Munster Schools Cup winners, with Rob O'Herlihy and David O'Mahony reprising their Presentation Cork partnership.

The Leinster/Ulster selection will be captained by Ballymena's Luke Marshall, who has performed well this year for the Ulster Ravens, with this season's Leinster Schools Cup-winning captain from Clongowes, Robert Hynes, featuring in the second row alongside Ian Henderson of Ulster. The half-back partnership is made up of Peter du Toit from Leinster and Ulster's Paddy Jackson.

Soccer has its premier at the ground on Wednesday evening when Manchester United take on an Airtricity League of Ireland selection managed by former Cork City boss Damien Richardson.

Players from Shamrock Rovers are not available to Richardson, as they will be playing their Europa League second round tie against Juventus in Modena.

Irish Independent

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