Out Half Andrew Deegan and Scrum Half Conor McKeon continue their effective partnership that produced back to back wins over Richmond before Christmas.
Connolly joins a strong back row featuring Sean Masterson at blindside and Paul Boyle who captains the side at number 8. It has been a big week for Academy player Boyle who made his debut for the first team in the interpro against Munster in Thomond Park last Saturday.
The two other Academy players who featured against Munster are also included in the pack. Conan O’Donnell will start at loosehead and Cillian Gallagher is in the second row, having made all his appearances for the senior side in the back row since making his debut in October.
(15-9) Matt Byrne, Rory Scholes, Stacey Illi, Kieran Joyce, Adam Leavy, Andrew Deegan, Conor McKeon, (1-8) Conan O’Donnell, Dylan Tierney, Conor Kenny, Peter Claffey, Cillian Gallagher, Sean Masterson, James Connolly, Paul Boyle (Capt)
Replacements (16-22): Callum Torpey, Matt Burke, Conor Kyne, Niall Murray, Ryan Feehily, Luke Carty, Michael O’Reilly.