As the Leinster Branch is trying to identify potential talent earlier and give players a further year of development, a training screening of 1995-born players took place in Ashbourne earlier this month…

Clubs in the area were invited to send players they felt had a higher than normal level of talent and, in all, 40 players were screened. For the first time, a new set of screening tests was employed. The tests, which Branch personnel had monitored through the Academy players the previous week, examined the players’ handling tackling and decision making skills.

They employed eight drills as well as two conditioned games and the players were scored by Coaching Development Officers from other regions.

Proceedings were also overseen by the Branch’s elite player development staff and North East coaches. Following the appraisals being forwarded to Colin O’Hare, he and Gerard McCleery selected a squad of 21 players to be invited into the development programme. The squad reflected well on the standard of North East rugby with players from seven clubs represented.

They commenced work on Monday with fitness assessments. Colin O’Hare would like to thank Gerry Murphy, Wayne Mitchell and Girvan Dempsey from the player development team plus the Coach Development Officers Declan O’Brien, Dan van Zyl and John Bagnall for their assistance on the night.