FLANKER Barry O’Mahony will captain the Munster A side in their crucial British and Irish Cup clash against Nottingham at St Mary’s RFC, Grove Island, this Friday night, 7.30pm.
South African winger Gerhard van den Heever will make his first Munster ‘A’ appearance on the left wing as part of an experienced backline with Denis Hurley and Ivan Dineen in the centres, Andrew Conway on the right wing and the tournament’s second-highest try-scorer Ronan O’Mahony at full-back. Academy out-half Johnny Holland maintains his place in the starting line-up with fellow Cork Con clubman Gerry Hurley at scrum-half.
Head Coach Peter Malone has gone with the Young Munster duo of Alan Cotter and Ger Slattery as well as John Ryan in the front row. Hooker Slattery recently made his RaboDirect PRO12 bow as a substitute against Connacht.
The experienced Ian Nagle is joined in the second row by academy player Darren O’Shea who starts his first Munster A game since the season-opener against Connacht Eagles. Dave O’Callaghan, who has started every B&I Cup game this season, captain Barry O’Mahony and Paddy Butler are named in the back row with Butler appearing in his first Munster A side this season.
A strong replacements bench includes Cian Bohane, academy players Shane Buckley, Jack O’Donoghue, Brian Haugh and Rory Scannell, Max Abbott and Brian Scott.
When the sides met earlier in the season, Johnny Holland was the late match-winner for Munster A as he converted Rory Scannell’s last-minute try to beat Nottingham 17-16 at Meadow Lane.
Munster A lie second in Pool 4 and trail leaders Plymouth Albion on points difference with both sides on three wins apiece. Plymouth are also in action tomorrow night as they host bottom-placed Stirling County at 7:45pm.
The format of the B&I Cup is the same as the Heineken Cup with the six pool winners and best two runners-up qualifying for the quarter finals.
Gates open at St Mary’s RFC at 6pm and Ticketmaster will be selling tickets from 4pm at the match venue.
MUNSTER A: Ronan O’Mahony; Andrew Conway, Ivan Dineen, Denis Hurley, Gerhard van den Heever; Johnny Holland, Gerry Hurley; Alan Cotter, Ger Slattery, John Ryan; Ian Nagle, Darren O’Shea; Dave O’Callaghan, Barry O’Mahony (Capt), Paddy Butler. Replacements: Max Abbott, Brian Scott, Shane Buckley, Jack O’Donoghue, Brian Haugh, Rory Scannell, Cian Bohane.