Connacht scrum half Kieran Marmion has returned from injury to take his place in the Connacht side to play Glasgow Warriors in Scotstoun on Friday (kick-off 7:35pm). Marmion came off the bench in Connacht’s victory over the Cheetahs last week, but this will be his first start since Ireland’s win over the All Blacks in November.
Marmion forms a half-back partnership with 21 year old Academy player Conor Fitzgerald
who comes in for Jack Carty. Fitzgerald’s brother Stephen
is set for his second consecutive start on the wing and is part of a back three that includes Matt Healy
on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran
at full back. Kyle Godwin
and Tom Daly
form the midfield partnership, with Bundee Aki and Tom Farrell away on international duty.
In the forwards, Dave Heffernan
comes in at hooker in a front row that includes loosehead Denis Buckley
and tighthead Finlay Bealham
. 21 year old Sligo man Cillian Gallagher
starts in the second row alongside James Cannon
In the back row, Head Coach Andy Friend has retained the same trio that started the win over Cheetahs last weekend, with Captain Jarrad Butler
starting at number 8 and Eoin McKeon
and Colby Fainga’a
at blindside and open side respectively.
Ahead of the trip to Glasgow, Friend spoke of the importance of the fixture for the overall standings in the conference; “It is extremely tight in our conference with only a few points separating four or five teams, so every game takes on an even greater importance now. We have picked a side with a good blend of youth and experience and I have full confidence in them to get a result on Friday night”.
Commenting on the return of Kieran Marmion, Friend added; “The real positive this week is to see Kieran Marmion back and raring to go after a period of injury. He has worked really hard over the past few months to regain his fitness and he is looking forward to his 150th appearance in a Connacht jersey. It’s a significant milestone and something to be proud of for him and his family.”
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Cillian Gallagher, James Cannon, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).
Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade, Peter Robb, Cian Kelleher.