Squads named for Ulster pre-season friendlies

07 September 2023

Squads named for Ulster pre-season friendlies

The Connacht Rugby and Connacht Eagles matchday squads have been named for tomorrow’s pre-season friendly double header against Ulster in Ballynahinch.

The first game kicks off at 3pm, and that squad is captained by Jack Carty who will continue in the role for the upcoming season.

There’s a start for new signing Andrew Smith, while fellow new arrivals Joe Joyce, Seán O’Brien, JJ Hanrahan and Liam McNamara may see game-time off the bench. Also among the replacements is hooker Tadgh McElroy who has joined the club on a short-term deal for injury cover. McElroy made 4 appearances for Leinster last season and has experience in the Premiership and Ireland U20s.

The Eagles squad for the 5.30pm kick-off includes a mix of Professional, Academy and Development players, as well as some players who may be involved in the opening game. Captain for that fixture is David Hawkshaw.

The two games represent an opportunity for nearly 50 players to potentially see gametime for the first time this season, having spent the last two months in pre-season training.

Commenting on the selection, Head Coach Pete Wilkins says:

“All of our players and coaches are looking forward to this first opportunity for game time and putting into practice some of what we’ve been working on this summer. The majority of our squad will benefit from some competitive game minutes after almost ten weeks of hard work across pre-season so far.

We have had a big focus on further integrating our Professional and Pathway setups during pre-season, so myself and Eric Elwood are also eager to see the progress of our Academy players, and what they have learnt across the last few months.

These games are all about getting minutes in the legs for the players, and for the coaches to get a feel for the group’s progress as we build towards the first game of the season next month. It will be great for the team to get back out on the field after a few months away and I’m sure we’ll take plenty from the trip.”

Friday 8th September, 15:00 @ Ballynahinch RFC       

15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Diarmuid Kilgallen
13. Tom Farrell
12. Tom Daly
11. Andrew Smith
10. Jack Carty (C)
9. Caolin Blade
1. Peter Dooley
2. Eoin de Buitléar
3. Jack Aungier
4. Oisín Dowling
5. Niall Murray
6. Cian Prendergast
7. Conor Oliver
8. Paul Boyle

Replacements from: Tadhg McElroy, Denis Buckley, Sam Illo, Joe Joyce, Seán O’Brien, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Matthew Devine, JJ Hanrahan, Cathal Forde, Byron Ralston, Liam McNamara, Josh O’Connor, Charlie Ward.

Friday 8th September, 17:30 @ Ballynahinch RFC

*denotes development player

15. Oran McNulty
14. Shayne Bolton
13. Shane Jennings
12. David Hawkshaw (C)
11. Shane Mallon
10. Seán Naughton
9. Colm Reilly
1. Jordan Duggan
2. Matthew Victory
3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
4. Charlie Coghlan *
5. Darragh Murray
6. Blayze Molloy *
7. Shamus Hurley-Langton
8. Seán O’Brien

Replacements from: Tadhg McElroy, Matthew Burke, Fiachna Barrett, Max Flynn *, Bobby Power *, Michael McDonald, Daniel Hawkshaw, Charlie Ward, Harry Rogers *, Josh O’Connor