The Junior Interprovincial Series starts this Saturday when Leinster take on Connacht in Newbridge RFC at 2:30pm.

Ahead of the first game of the Series, Leinster head coach, David Mahon sat down to give his thoughts on this year’s competition.

“With the way the fixtures have fallen with the Bank of Ireland Towns Cup and the Round Robin, for the first time in a long time we have the pick of all the players so it’s probably the strongest panel that we’ve had in my time involved.

“Leinster Junior rugby as a whole is in a strong position. It’s a very healthy and vibrant league. It’s exciting to be a part of this junior team and the league.”

The Leinster Juniors have not won the Interprovincial series since 2014 but are confident that this can be addressed this season.

Training has gone well with sessions being held in Clondalkin RFC on Tuesday and Thursday nights (a huge thanks to the club for their help).

With over 30 players showing up to training each night, it will be tough to cut the team down to a squad of 23 but that is the task facing Mahon and the rest of the coaching team.

“Guys have come through and have gone on and played at a much higher level on the back of the Juniors. It’s been a window for guys to use it as an opportunity to wear their provincial jersey.

“We had two players who played on the Irish amateur team this year who came through the Junior Interprovincial in the last couple of years. Tony Ryan who came through from Enniscorthy and Willie Earl who came through from Gorey, played for the Irish amateur team during the Six Nations and Ryan was obviously capped at senior level by Leinster in the Guinness PRO12.”

Regarding the prospect of an International junior team Mahon is hopeful that it could happen in years to come.

“I do think it would be a reward for guys who stay loyal to their clubs to potentially come through and get some international recognition. Players would aspire to play junior rugby, not that they don’t already but if there was an international aspect that would really make it very exciting.”

It would be great to see support for the team at the games so come along and bring the family. All support is very much appreciated by the players and the team management.

Leinster Junior XV v Connacht Junior

15. Liam Carry (Kilkenny RFC)
14. Ivan Jacob (Enniscorthy RFC)
13. Killian Lett (Enniscrothy RFC)
12. William (Cas) O’Brien (Tullow RFC)
11. Marcus McAllister (Malahide (RFC)
10. Pete Condon (Monkstown RFC)
1. Alan Wall (Ashbourne RFC)
2. Johnny Lee (Coolmine RFC)
3. Dylan Quinn (Longford RFC)
4. Frank Murphy (Tullow RFC)
5. Ronan Costelloe (D L S P)
6. Mark Whelan(Gorey RFC)
7. John Shine (Malahide RFC) Capt
8. Dave O’Connor (Kilkenny RFC)

Replacements

16. Eanna Killian (Wicklow RFC)
17. Paul McCreanor (ClondalkinRFC
18. Cathal Bannon (Portarlington RFC)
19. Barry Stewart (Longford RFC)
20. Simon Deevey (Ashbourne RFC)
21. Eric Flynn (Monkstown RFC)
22. Podge Mahon (Kilkenny RFC)
23. Ross Doyle ( Portarlington RFC)

Management

Manager – Derick Turner
Asst Manager – Damien Curley (Longford RFC)
Head Coach – David Mahon (Monkstown RFC)
Forwards Coach – Niall Moran (Longford)
Defence Coach – Mark Whitehead (Coolmine RFC)
Backs Coach – Maurice Logue (Tullow RFC)
Bagman – Noel Ferguson (Wexford Wanderers RFC)
Team Doctor – Dr Paul Trueick (Longford RFC)
Video Analyst – Damien Strict (Newbridge RFC)
PR & Media – Harry Nicholls (Portlaoise RFC) and Emily O’Neill (Edenderry RFC)

Leinster Junior fixtures

Leinster v Connacht (Saturday, April 29, Newbridge RFC, 2.30pm)
Munster v Leinster (Saturday, May 6, Newcastle West RFC, 2.30pm)
Leinster v Ulster (Saturday, May 13, Longford RFC, 2.30pm)