Leinster U18 Schools take on Ulster tomorrow…
September 12, 2014 12:00 am client
The Leinster Schools domination of the U18 Interprovincial Championship is such that the pressure to succeed is outweighed by the fear of failure. That is simply the way it has been…
“This group of players inherits a proud rugby tradition, but we are keen to create a new legacy and add real value to Leinster,” said coach Noel McNamara.
“Achievements of previous groups grow us, but, ultimately, this group will be defined over the next three weeks and history alone will not get us over the line”.
Leinster have put together an impressive sequence of victories over Northampton Saints 39-0, Leinster U18 Clubs 28-12 and French tourists Languedoc 16-12 to create an air of expectation. No more or less than their senior professional counterparts, winning is their only option.
“We have five back from last season in backs Dave Duggan, Jordan Larmour, Tim Carroll, Tim Foley and forward Johnny Guy, albeit Johnny did not feature for Leinster in the Interpros, but did play for Ireland later in the season,” added McNamara.
It is the physical progress and game maturity of dual purpose back Foley, equally at home at ten or twelve, which took the eye in the rout of The Saints and in the heat of a close encounter against Languedoc.
This is far from a five-man operation even though the returning quintet were all penciled in to represent Ireland at the FIRA European Championship last Easter until Foley was ruled out with injury, St Andrew’s pair wing Larmour and flanker Guy starting in the final defeat to England.
There are a host of ball players starting with fly-half Conor Dean, the son of former Ireland Triple Crown winner Paul, and eye-for-a-gap centre Jack Kelly in behind a bunch of forward in which Caelan Doris is a young man with so much experience already for Blackrock in the Schools Senior Cup.
There are loud noises being made about the positive steps being taken in Ulster at Age Grade level. Their U20s (27-7), U19s (24-17) and Schools started out with a treble over Connacht last weekend.
The impressive manner in which their U18 Schools simply tore Connacht to pieces 53-0 down in Ballinasloe last Saturday augurs well for what suddenly could well be a likely Championship decider even at this early point at Templeville Road on Saturday.
They wasted no time in accumulating the four tries required for the bonus-point before the break and were just as emphatic in homing in for four more in the second-half.
There is a spine of experience to this Northern force. Goal-kicking wing Robert Lyttle and centre Conor Kelly, both from Methodist College, and Wallace High School hooker Ben Pentland all played in the 30-14 loss to Leinster last season with Kelly at fly-half and Pentland at openside back then.
It does hint at a degree of confidence in the current ten Matthew McDowell from Ballyclare High School inside the speed of wings Lyttle and RBAI’s Conor Field and the graft of Campbell College’s Robert Butler in the midfield.
The fact that Connacht have already been whitewashed by more than 50 points by Ulster would weigh heavily in Munster’s favour when the rivals collide at The Sportsground on Wednesday (September 10th) with The Westerners usually lacking in resources and options at this Age Grade. It will take all the will in the world for them to make any impression on Munster.
Munster head coach Mark Butler, an assistant to McNamara in the Ireland set-up last season, identified those that would wear the red jersey at the back end of a five-week Rugby Talent Camp Programme at Rockwell over the summer.
Their captain is Rockwell fly-half Bill Johnston ably backed by a second distributor and kicker in Glenstal’s Jack Stafford with 2013 Ireland wing Calvin Nash probably relocated to full-back from where his pace can cause maximum damage.
Munster concluded their three-match warm-up series with a 22-11 loss to Aquitane out in France last Saturday week. It should put them in the right place physically to deal with whatever backlash Connacht can muster from their demoralising defeat to Ulster.
Leinster U18 Schools take on Ulster 13th of September in Templeville road, KO 2.30pm. Check out the full squad announcement below…
15. Barry Goulding (Gonzaga College S.J.)
14. Tim Carroll (Cistercian College Roscrea)
13. Jack Kelly (St. Michael’s College)
12. Tim Foley (Cistercian College Roscrea) CAPTAIN
11. Jordan Larmour (St. Andrew’s College)
10. Conor Dean (Blackrock College)
9. David Duggan (St. Michael’s College)
1. Rory Mulvihill (St. Michael’s College)
2. Conor Johnson (Newbridge College)
3. Richard Mouatt (Blackrock College)
4. Oisin Dowling (St. Michael’s College)
5. Brian Egan (Belvedere College S.J.)
6. Caelan Dorris (Blackrock College)
7. Tom De Jongh (Belvedere College S.J.)
8. Jonny Guy (St. Andrew’s College)
16. Daniel McCaffrey (Belvedere College S.J.)
17. Gavin Murray (Castleknock College)
18. Emmet Burns (Blackrock College)
19. Barry Fitzpatrick (St. Michael’s College)
20. Matthew Keane (Cistercian College Roscrea)
21. Hugh O’Sullivan (Belvedere College S.J.)
22. Conor Jennings (Belvedere College S.J.)
23. Alan Tynan (Cistercian College Roscrea)
15. Phil Hylands (Wallace HS)
14. Conor Field (RBAI)
13. Conor Kelly (Methodist College)
12. Rory Butler (Campbell College)
11. Robert Lyttle (Methodist College)
10. Matthew McDowell (Ballyclare HS)
9. Jonathon Stewart (Wallace HS)
1. Ben O’Reilly (Methodist College)
2. Ben Pentland (Wallace HS)
3. Philip Matthews (RS Armagh)
4. Marcus Rea (Ballymena Academy)
5. Fergus Jemphrey (Sullivan Upper)
6. Jonny McKeown (Ballymena Academy) CAPTAIN
7. Daniel Coulter (Methodist College)
8. Saul Herdman (Methodist College)
16. Conor McEvoy (Sullivan Upper)
17. Daniel Kealy (Campbell College)
18. Aaron Kilpatrick (Methodist College)
19. Richard McNeill (Banbridge Academy)
20. Matthew Agnew (Bangor GS)
21. Neil Kilpatrick (Wallace HS)
22. Joel McBride (Belfast HS)
23. Jack Howard/ Ben Finlay (Campbell College/ Wallace HS)