Connacht U20 make the trip to Musgrave Park this Friday for the first of their 2012/13 inter-provincial clashes.

The defending champions made a clean sweep of the board last season beating all three of their provincial counterparts to claim their first grand slam in ten years.

After two close victories (19-22 away to Ulster and 16-19 away to Leinster) Connacht produced a stunning display, including a hat-trick of tries, to overcome Munster 32-18 in Dubarry Park , Athlone.

ShaneLaydenHatrick300This year’s crop of U20’s have been put through their paces at the Sportsground for the last eight weeks and Head Coach Jimmy Duffy is looking forward to getting started this weekend:

“Everybody’s looking forward to getting the inter-provincial series started, it’s been a tough but productive couple of months of preseason and the lads are ready to get stuck into the games now. We have three matches in three weeks so once they do start it’s full on. It’s like having three cup finals in three weeks but that’s what the guys strive for, to play at the highest intensity week in week out.”

“We played Munster in a friendly and they gave us a really hard work-out, winning the game in the end, but that’s the best preparation for us as we now know where we are in terms of fitness and skills and we’re very happy with that. We have a couple of injuries but that’s to be expected and there’s nothing that concerns us too much, we’re just looking forward to getting started at this stage.”

Connacht begin the U20 inter-provincial series away to Munster this Friday 7th September before hosting Ulster in Dubarry Park, Athlone the following week (Friday 14th September 17:00). The final match is at home to Leinster in the Sportsground, Galway, on Friday 21st September at 15:00.

Pictured above: Hat-trick hero Shane Layden during last years Grand Slam clinching win over Munster (C) www.inpho.ie 

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