IRELAND Under-20 Head Coach Noel McNamara has today named his extended 24-player squad for Sunday’s game against Munster Development at Irish Independent Park (kick-off 1pm) and three Munster stars have made the cut.
Leinster Academy tighthead Thomas Clarkson, who started all five of Ireland’s games during their Grand Slam-winning Six Nations campaign last season, captains the side for Sunday’s hit-out in Cork.
Clarkson is one of six players from last year’s squad involved again for the 2020 season, with his Leinster Academy team-mate Brian Deeny and Munster flanker Thomas Ahern named to start, while John McKee, Charlie Ward and Max O’Reilly are among the replacements.
Connacht full-back Oran McNulty is joined in the back three by Ethan McIlroy, who last week made his senior Ulster debut in the Guinness PRO14 inter-pro defeat to Leinster, and Clontarf winger Andrew Smith, with UCC's Harry O’Riordan and Ulster Academy centre Hayden Hyde in midfield.
Cork Constitution out-half Jack Crowley, who recently won the Energia All-Ireland League December Try of the Month award, partners Lewis Finlay in the half-backs, while Marcus Hannan, Tom Stewart and Clarkson make up the front row.
Deeny and Ahern supply experience in the engine room with UCD's Sean O’Brien, Mark Hernan and Joshua Dunne of Galwegians making up the back row.
The Munster A/Development side has also been named for Sunday's game.
Garryowen’s Cian Hurley captains the side with six Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players selected – Seán French, Alan Tynan, Eoghan Clarke, James French, Eoin O’Connor and Paddy Kelly.
UL Bohemians’ Jamie Shanahan starts at full-back with former Glenstal Abbey man Ronan Quinn – now with Dublin University – and Seán French (Cork Constitution) on either flank.
Garryowen’s Jack Delaney and former CBC man Tommy Downes (Galwegians) partner up in the centres.
Young Munster duo Charlie O’Doherty and Tynan are in the half-backs.
Garryowen’s Mark Donnelly, Clarke (Shannon) and James French (UCC) pack down in the front row.
O’Connor (Young Munster) and Kelly (Garryowen) are named in the second row with Hurley, Anthony Ryan (Dublin University) and Shannon’s Daniel Okeke completing the side.
An extended list of replacements has been named. Kieran O’Shea (UL Bohemian), Aaron Hennessy (Nenagh Ormond), Liam Bishop (IQ Rugby) and Amhlaoibh Porter (Cork Constitution) are all included along with Cashel RFC duo Ciaran Ryan and Farrell O’Donoghue and UCC trio Aidan Brien, Killian Coughlan and Louis Bruce.
Guest players Ben Murphy and Tim Corkery complete the squad.
Ireland open their Under-20 Six Nations campaign against Scotland at Irish Independent Park on Friday, January 31 (kick-off 7.15pm).
MUNSTER 'A'/DEVELOPMENT: Jamie Shanahan; Ronan Quinn, Tommy Downes, Jack Delaney, Seán French; Alan Tynan, Charlie O’Doherty; Mark Donnelly, Eoghan Clarke, James French; Eoin O’Connor, Paddy Kelly; Cian Hurley(C), Anthony Ryan, Daniel Okeke. Replacements from: Kieran O’Shea, Aaron Hennessy, Ciaran Ryan, Liam Bishop, Aidan Brien, Amhlaoibh Porter, Farrell O’Donoghue, Ben Murphy, Tim Corkery, Killian Coughlan, Louis Bruce.
Ireland Under-20s (v Munster Development):
15. Oran McNulty (Corinthians RFC / Connacht)
14. Ethan McIlroy (Queens RFC / Ulster)
13. Harry O’Riordan (UCC RFC / Munster)
12. Hayden Hyde (Ballynahinch RFC / Ulster)
11. Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC / Leinster)
10. Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution FC / Munster)
9. Lewis Finlay (Malone RFC / Ulster)
1. Marcus Hannan (Old Belvedere RFC / Leinster)
2. Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch RFC / Ulster)
3. Tom Clarkson (Dublin University FC / Leinster)(captain)
4. Brian Deeny (Clontarf FC / Leinster)
5. Thomas Ahern (Shannon RFC / Munster)
6. Sean O’Brien (UCD RFC / Leinster)
7. Mark Hernan (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
8. Joshua Dunne (Galwegians RFC / Connacht).
16. John McKee (Old Belvedere / Leinster)
17. Harry Noonan (Old Wesley RFC / Leinster)
18. Charlie Ward (Clontarf FC / Leinster)
19. Joe McCarthy (Dublin University FC / Leinster)
20. Alex Soroka (Dublin University FC / Leinster)
21. Conor McKee (Queens RFC / Ulster)
22. Cathal Forde (Corinthians RFC / Connacht)
23. Diarmuid Kilgallen (Galwegians / Connacht)
24. Max O’Reilly (Dublin University FC / Leinster)
Noel McNamara's backroom team contains some Munster links too as Colm Tucker leads the forwards and Lar Hogan as Kit Manager. Kieran Campbell is in charge of the backs and attack, with Martin Kennedy as Athletic Performance Coach. Hendrik continues as Team Manager.