A 26-man Ireland Under-18 Schools squad, sponsored by PwC, has been named for the upcoming U-18 Six Nations Festival which takes place in Gloucester and Worcester from next week.
Six players who lined out for Ireland in last year’s U-18 Festival are included – Nathan Doak, son of former Ulster player and coach Neil, Karl Martin, Tom Stewart, Alex Kendellen, Ben Murphy, son of Ireland skills and kicking coach Richie, and Chris Cosgrave.
The Connacht Under-18 team that captured silverware at the IRFU Under-18 Interprovincial Festival at the start of the season is well represented with their lynchpin lock and captain Darragh Murray joined by provincial team-mates Donnacha Byrne, Oisin McCormack and Diarmuid McCormack.
Cosgrave, Lee Barron, Jack Boyle and Will Hickey will don the green jersey after helping St. Michael’s College to lift the Leinster Schools Senior Cup last month. CBC Cork, the recent Munster Schools Senior Cup winners, are represented by Cian Whooley, Aaron Leahy, Harry O’Riordan and Mark Donnelly.
Oisin McCormack and Shane Jennings, who shone for Garbally College during their successful Connacht Schools Senior Cup campaign, will add to their underage international experience from last year, while Jennings’ Galway All-Ireland Minor Hurling title-winning team-mate Diarmuid Kilcommins, a Connacht Rugby U-19 Player of the Year nominee, is also included.
Peter Smyth’s Ireland U-18 Schools squad will face France in Hartpury this Saturday, tournament hosts England at Sixways Stadium on Wednesday week (April 17), and will finish the festival at Kingsholm Stadium on Easter Sunday against Wales. Smyth, who is in his second season as head coach, will be assisted by Mossy Lawler and Colm McMahon.
The Under-18 Six Nations Festival matches will be broadcast live on Free Sports, which is available in Ireland on the Sky platform – channel 429. IRELAND UNDER-18 SCHOOLS Squad (2019 U-18 Six Nations Festival, Gloucester & Worcester, England, April 13-21):
Backs (12) –
Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Ulster)
Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Ulster)
Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Connacht)
Diarmuid Killcommins (Coláiste Bhaile Chláir/Connacht)
Aaron Leahy (CBC Cork/Munster)
Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)
Karl Martin (St. Mary’s School Drogheda/Leinster)
Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray/Leinster)
Harry O’Riordan (CBC Cork/Munster)
Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Leinster)
Cian Whooley (CBC Cork/Munster)
Forwards (14) –
Lee Barron (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
Jack Boyle (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Connacht)
Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ulster)
Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Munster)
Oscar Egan (Coleraine Grammar School/Ulster)
Will Hickey (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)
Alexander Kendellen (PBC Cork/Munster)
Diarmuid McCormack (Clongowes Wood College/Connacht)
Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Connacht)
Darragh Murray (Colaiste Chiaran/Connacht)
George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School/Ulster)
Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy/Ulster)
IRELAND UNDER-18 SCHOOLS – U-18 SIX NATIONS FIXTURES:
Ireland Under-18 Schools v France Under-18s, Hartpury College, Gloucester, Saturday, April 13, 2.40pm
England Under-18s v Ireland Under-18 Schools, Sixways Stadium, Worcester, Wednesday, April 17, 1.40pm
Ireland Under-18 Schools v Wales Under-18s, Kingsholm, Gloucester, Sunday, April 21, 11.10am