The Connacht Eagles management team have named their squad for Saturday’s Celtic Cup Round 2 meeting with Dragons in Ystrad Mynach.

Robin Copeland has been named at number 8 as he continues his recovery from injury – he’s joined by Cillian Gallagher and Cian Huxford in the back row.

Peter Claffey and Joe Maksymiw renew their second row partnership, while the front row is also unchanged with Tom McCartney captaining the team alongside props Matthew Burke and Conor Carey.

Conor Fitzgerald is retained at out-half with Conor McKeon named at scrum-half. There’s one other change from the side that lost to Munster last week with Sean O’Brien coming in at centre alongside Kieran Joyce. Wingers Colm De Buitlear and Rory Scholes along with full-back Darragh Leader make up the back three.

Kick-off is at 2.30pm in Wales with updates available on Twitter @ConnachtRugby.



(15-9) Darragh Leader, Rory Scholes, Sean O’Brien, Kieran Joyce, Colm de Buitléar, Conor Fitzgerald, Conor McKeon. (1-8) Matthew Burke, Tom McCartney (c), Conor Carey, Peter Claffey, Joe Maksymiw, Cillian Gallagher, Cian Huxford, Robin Copeland.

Replacements (16-23): Jonny Murphy, Jordan Duggan, Conor Kenny, Cormac Daly, Neal Moylett, James Mitchell, Conor Dean, Conor Hayes.

Connacht Eagles 14-71 Ealing Trailfinders

It was a day to forget for the Connacht Eagles in the British & Irish Cup as high-flying Championship side Ealing Trailfinders claimed a comprehensive victory at the Sportsground.

Trailing 40-0 at the break, Connacht showed good fighting spirit in the second half and touched down through Pat O’Toole and Gavin Thornbury but the forward power of the English side proved too strong.

Ealing’s six-try first half included four tries from rolling mauls as Samuel Rodman, James Cordy Redden, Matt Cornish, Lewis Jones (2) and Joe Munro all touched down.

Thornbury and Conor McKeon were both sin-binned late in the half and, with Connacht down to 13, Ealing scored again early in the second half as Shane O’Leary’s superb crossfield kick allowed Will Harries to touch down.

James Cordy Redden scored in the left corner in 50 minutes before O’Toole finished off a flowing Connacht move before Harley Fox set Thornbury up for a second try with Andrew Deegan converting both.

That was as good as it got however as Ealing regained control and finished strongly with Harries, Morgan Allen and Cordy Redden crossing to complete the scoring as former Connacht out-half O’Leary kicked eight conversions in an impressive display.

Connacht Eagles: Matthew Byrne; Niyi Adeolokun (Adam Leavy, 68), Stacey Ili (Luke Carty, 26-35), Kieran Joyce, Rory Scholes; Andrew Deegan (Luke Carty, 75), Conor McKeon (James Mitchell, 55); Denis Coulson, Pat O’Toole, JP Cooney (Capt) (Conor Kenny, 55); Peter Claffey (Niall Murray, 72), Gavin Thornbury; Paul Boyle, Naulia Dawai, Harley Fox (Cian Huxford, 72).

Replacements: Callum Torpey, Conor Kenny, Niall Murray, Cian Huxford, James Mitchell, Luke Carty, Adam Leavy.

Head Coach Mossy Lawler has named the Connacht Eagles side for Sunday’s British and Irish Cup clash against high-flying Ealing Trailfinders at the Sportsground (2pm).

Andrew Deegan, Rory Scholes and captain JP Cooney are among the players drafted into the side.

Once again, the strong selection includes a mix of senior and Connacht Academy players as Ireland international Niyi Adeolokun and Fiji international Naulia Dawai both maintain their places.

Out-half Deegan partners Conor McKeon at half-back with Scholes starting on the left wing as Stacey Ili maintains his place at outside centre.

The Connacht Academy, sponsored by NUIG, is well represented with Matthew Byrne at full back, Kieran Joyce at inside centre, Peter Claffey in the second row, and both Paul Boyle and Harley Fox in the back row.

An all-senior front row sees Denis Coulson and Cooney flank Pat O’Toole with lock Gavin Thornbury partnering Claffey in the engine room.

Scrum-half James Mitchell is set to make his return from injury off the bench with three Academy players among the replacements – out-half Luke Carty, back three player Adam Leavy and prop Conor Kenny.

Ireland U18 internationals Cian Huxford and Callum Torpey (Exile) complete the bench along with Niall Murray, last year’s Connacht U18 Player of the Year.

It is set to be a very tough task against an Ealing Trailfinders side that are flying high in the Championship with five wins from six.

They made a superb start to the B&I Cup campaign thanks to a 67-12 win over Richmond last week and former Connacht out-half Shane O’Leary is among their ranks.

Admission to this game for Season Ticket holders and under-12s is free of charge.

General admission is €5.

Connacht Eagles: Matthew Byrne; Niyi Adeolokun, Stacey Ili, Kieran Joyce, Rory Scholes; Andrew Deegan, Conor McKeon; Denis Coulson, Pat O’Toole, JP Cooney (Capt); Peter Claffey, Gavin Thornbury; Paul Boyle, Naulia Dawai, Harley Fox.

Replacements: Callum Torpey, Conor Kenny, Niall Murray, Cian Huxford, James Mitchell, Luke Carty, Adam Leavy.


Connacht Eagles B&I Cup Fixtures & Results

Saturday, October 14

Rotherham 28-23 Connacht Eagles, Clifton Lane;

Sunday, October 22

Connacht Eagles v Ealing Trailfinders, The Sportsground, 2pm;

Saturday, December 9

Richmond v Connacht Eagles, Athletic Ground, 3pm;

Sunday, December 17

Connacht Eagles v Richmond, The Sportsground, 2pm;

Saturday, January 13

Ealing Trailfinders v Connacht Eagles, Trailfinders Sports Ground, 3pm;

Weekend of Saturday, January 20

Connacht Eagles v Rotherham, The Sportsground, TBC;


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