With the unfortunate withdrawal of captain Sean O’Brien (ankle injury) from the Ireland U20’s Junior World Championship squad, two players Rory Moloney and Ciaran Gaffney will represent Connacht when the international squad depart for New Zealand next Tuesday.

While Gaffney is yet to be capped at U20 international level, Moloney represented Ireland in this year’s U20 Six Nations, coming off the bench against Scotland and going on to earn starts in the back row against Italy and France. A few weeks previously, the Buccaneers’ flanker was selected to captain Ireland U19’s in a game against Australia Schools in which his Connacht teammate Gaffney featured on the wing.

An abrasive number 7, Moloney was offered a contract by Academy Manager Nigel Carolan last summer and in his first season in the Academy played a pivotal role with the Eagles team in the British & Irish cup. Hailing from Abbeyleix in Laois, Moloney was educated at Cistercian College Roscrea where he was part of the senior cup team narrowly beaten by eventual winners Blackrock College in the semi-final of the Leinster Schools Cup in 2013.

Moloney featured on various underage teams for Leinster and Connacht as well as representing Ireland at U18 Schools level before he was chosen to captain the Ireland U-19’s team against Australia Schools last December.

The 19-year-old balances rugby with his studies in NUIG where he is in the early stages of his Commerce degree.

Ciaran Gaffney is one of seven uncapped players in Mike Ruddock’s 28-man U20’s squad for the competition. Capped for Ireland U19’s this season, Gaffney started on the wing against Australia Schools and was recalled for the April clash against France U19’s.

Born in Galway, Gaffney was educated at the Bish before moving to Cistercian College Roscrea for the last two years of secondary school. A proud Galwegian club man, the 19-year-old refers to ‘winning the U17 All Ireland championship in 2011 with my club’ as one of the main highlights in his young career.

Balancing his rugby with a Commerce & French degree in NUIG, Gaffney was a member of the Connacht sub Academy this season and earned deserved recognition as a nominee for the ‘Connacht U19 Player of the Year’.

Growing up, Gaffney was involved at the Sportsground as a ball boy from a very young age and recalls watching the players he now trains with in the senior set up.

Less than ten years on, he and his former school mate Rory Moloney, will depart for New Zealand next week to represent their country in a challenging pool with France, Wales and Fiji.

Ireland’s under-20 teams have had considerable success in all previous tournaments beating Australia last year and South Africa in 2012, going as far as the semi-finals of the 12-team tournament.

Connacht and Ireland supporters can keep track of the duo’s progress as TG4 today announced that they will broadcast the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship (Under-20 World Cup) live from New Zealand next month, with live coverage of all of Ireland’s Pool B matches as well as both Semi-Finals and the Final.  Ireland share pool B with France, Fiji and Wales and open their tournament against France on Monday, 2nd June in QBE Stadium, Auckland.

TG4’s extensive coverage will also include deferred coverage as well as various highlights show. The full line-up of live matches on TG4 is as follows:

POOL BIreland, Wales, Fiji, France

MONDAY 2nd JUNE
Ireland v France,   Live from the QBE Stadium, Auckland      Kick-off:  6:35am (Irish Time)
TG4’s live coverage begins at 6:25am.

Full repeat with deferred coverage again at 11:35am.

FRIDAY 6th JUNE
Ireland v Wales,   Live from the ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe      Kick-off:  6:35am (Irish Time)

TG4’s live coverage begins at 6:25am.

Highlights on TG4 at 8:30pm that evening.
TUESDAY 10th JUNE

Ireland v Fiji,   Live from the QBE Stadium, Auckland       Kick-off:  2:35am (Irish Time)

TG4’s live coverage begins at 2:25am

Full repeat deferred coverage again at 12:30pm.
Highlights on TG4 at 7:30pm that evening.

SUNDAY 15th JUNE

Live coverage on TG4 of both IRB Junior World Championship Semi-Finals

Kick-off:  6:05am (Irish Time)    2nd Seed v 3rd Seed   Venue:  QBE Stadium, Auckland

Kick-off:  8:35am (Irish Time)    1st Seed v 4th Seed    Venue: QBE Stadium, Auckland

TG4’s live coverage begins at 5:55am
Highlights on TG4 at 7:15pm that evening.

FRIDAY 20th JUNE

Live coverage on TG4 of the IRB Junior World Championship Final
Kick off:  8:35am  (Irish Time)    Live from Eden Park, Auckland

TG4’s live coverage begins at 8:25am.

Highlights on TG4 at 8:30pm that evening.

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