A 27-man Connacht U17 squad travelled to England to take on the might of Wasps and Harlequins last week. The five day tour was based in the exceptional facilities of the Oratory School just outside Reading and the first match was against Wasps last Thursday. Set in the stunning grounds of Henley Hawks RFC on a sun-drenched evening, Connacht were outmatched physically by a well drilled and competitive Wasps side. Connacht started the better of the two sides, dominating early possession and striking deep into the hosts territory but failed to cross the line and once Wasps weathered the initial surge they started to impose their own game plan. Wasps scored 61 unanswered points using their brute force and strength but I was Connacht who had the final say, managing two late tries to leave the final score Wasps 61-12 Connacht.
The second match saw the Connacht side arrive at the Stoop in time to see the first half of the Aviva Premiership clash between Harlequins and Newcastle before togging out and taking to the same pitch straight afterwards. The atmosphere was electric as a large portion of the crowd stayed to see the age-grade clash. Harlequins raced to an early lead but Connacht’s second half performance was a defensive masterclass of epic proportions, keeping out a much bigger and more physical Harlequins side to hold them scoreless in the second half, the final score of Harlequins 40-0 Connacht not truly reflecting the massive performance this up and coming crop of Connacht players.
Despite the results this was a thoroughly beneficial trip for the squad, the team bonded well and have plenty of video footage to pour over between now and the U18 InterPro series in the autumn.
Connacht U17 Squad
Aarron Martyn
Brian Boland
Christian Nielsen
Cian Huxford
Colm Reilly
Colm O’Brien
Craig McCormick
Dairmuid Codyre
Daniel Arnold
Darren Toohey
Declan Gill
Dylan Tierney-Martin
Ewan Heapes
Fionn Finley
Harry Donnelly
Iarlaith Morrin Laheen
James Kelly
Jason Hoare
John Tumelty
Jordan Fogerty
Michael Hanley
Michael O’Donnell
Morgan O’Brien
Niall Murray
Rob Hennessy
Rowan O’Halloran
Ryan Lomas

Head Coach: Charlie Cooper
Assistant Coaches: Conor Galvin & Gavin Foley
Manager: Luke Murphy
Physio: Emily Ross

Connacht U17 v Harlequins 1

Connacht U17 v Wasps 1

Connacht U17 v Wasps 2


U18 and U19 matchday squads named for Interpro openers vs Ulster