Fitzgerald and teenager Johnston start for Munster

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Ireland U-20 winger Stephen Fitzgerald starts for Munster in their final pre-season friendly against London Irish at Musgrave Park tomorrow night, 7pm
IRELAND U-20 winger Stephen Fitzgerald will start for Munster against London Irish in the province’s final pre-season friendly at Musgrave Park on Friday night, 7pm.

IRELAND U-20 winger Stephen Fitzgerald will start for Munster against London Irish in the province’s final pre-season friendly at Musgrave Park on Friday night, 7pm.

Munster Academy and Shannon player Fitzgerald will start on the right wing in one of nine changes made by coach Anthony Foley from the side which lost to Connacht a week ago.

For the third successive week Foley introduces a different starting out-half with 18-year-old Bill Johnston, a Munster Schools Senior Cup winner with Rockwell College last season, making his first senior start and joining Cathal Sheridan in the half-backs.

In the pack, John Ryan joins Mike Sherry and Stephen Archer in the front row while John Madigan returns to partner Dave Foley in the second row. Foley is the only forward to start in all three pre-season games.

Jordan Coghlan starts at openside joining Dave O’Callaghan and CJ Stander in the backrow with the South African captaining the side once again this week from number 8.

Further changes to the backline see Francis Saili make his first start for the province, while Emerging Ireland tourists Rory Scannell and Andrew Conway both make a return to provincial action with Scannell joining Saili in the centre partnership and Conway named at fullback.

This will be Munster’s final outing before the Guinness PRO12 kicks-off with the province’s home tie against Treviso at Musgrave Park on Saturday, September 5 at 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, the Munster women’s side to face Ulster in their second interprovincial fixture of the season at Thomond Park on Saturday, 2.30pm, has also been named.

MUNSTER v London Irish: Andrew Conway; Stephen Fitzgerald, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Gerhard van den Heever; Bill Johnston, Cathal Sheridan; John Ryan, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer; John Madigan, Dave Foley; Dave O’Callaghan, Jordan Coghlan, CJ Stander Capt. Replacements from: Niall Scannell, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Robin Copeland, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Shane Monahan, Shane Buckley, Matt D’Arcy, David Johnston.

MUNSTER WOMEN v Ulster: Valerie Power (Shannon); Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Highfield), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohs), Nicola Scully (Highfield) , Laura O’Mahony (Tralee); Niamh Briggs Capt. (UL Bohs), Ellen Murphy (Highfield); Fiona Reidy (UL Bohs), Amy Desmond (Highfield), Leah Lyons (Highfield); Róisín Ormond (Highfield), Elaine Anthony (Highfield); Siobhan Fleming (Tralee), Ciara Griffin (Tralee), Heather O’Brien (Highfield). Replacements: Zoe Grattagh (Highfield), Maura Collins (Abbeyfeale), Niamh English (Highfield), Gerda Coyne (Highfield), Chloe Pearse (Shannon), Mona Fehily (Highfield), Jayne Pennefather (Highfield), Edel Murphy (UL Bohs).