The success of the Men's 7s Programme since the 2015/16 season has resulted in the squad securing a place in the World Rugby Sevens World Series qualification tournament in Hong Kong this coming April, and qualification for the 2018 Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco in July.
In order to maximise preparation for these two hugely significant tournaments a number of players will be prioritising their involvement with the 7s programme this season. 14 players from both the club game and provincial academies will form the core squad of the Ireland Men's 7s Programme.
Director of Sevens Rugby, Anthony Eddy said: "This is a real positive step and provides a core group of players with an opportunity to focus primarily on 7s this season, as many of them have already committed so much to the success of the program over the last couple of years.
"They will continue to play club rugby and train with the academies but they will have a greater commitment to the 7s programme, and will be provided the opportunity to train and play Rugby Sevens more regularly, rather than just the weekend camps that have operated during previous seasons.”
The squad will compete in three international tournaments before the end of the year – the DHL Oktoberfest 7s in Munich in September, the Silicon Valley 7s in San Jose, California in November and the Dubai 7s in early December.
Additional players from academies and clubs will also have the opportunity to line out in an Ireland 7s jersey this season according to Eddy.
"The best players interested in being involved will be provided an opportunity to represent Ireland and be part of a very busy and important season for the Ireland Men's 7s programme. Additional players from the club game and academy programmes will train with the squad throughout the season and as the season progresses it will be vital to have depth within the group.
"We are communicating regularly with the club and academy coaches to minimize disruption particularly for the core group who have committed to 7s for the season but also for players who will be training with the squad and who could potentially represent their country this season.”
Ireland 7s Squad 2017/18 Season (Core)
Robert Balacoune (Enniskillen RFC/Ulster)
Will Connors (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution FC/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD RFC)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jimmy O'Brien (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St.Mary's College RFC/Leinster)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University FC)
John O'Donnell (Lansdowne FC)
Greg O'Shea (Shannon RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)