27 Jan 2022

Offaly man named to start for Ireland U20s in Six Nations opener

Offaly man named to start for Ireland U20s in Six Nations opener

Ronan Loughnane, left, and Ben Murphy of Ireland U20 during the match between Ireland U20 and Leinster A at Energia Park in Dublin in May. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Offaly will be represented as Ireland get their U20s Six Nations campaign underway this Sunday afternoon.

Birr's Ronan Loughnane as been named to start in the pack by head coach Richie Murphy.

Murphy named his Ireland U20s Match Day squad on Friday for the opening game of the U20 Six Nations against Scotland in Cardiff on Saturday afternoon (Kick-off 2pm, live on RTÉ 1).

Munster back row Alex Kendellen captains the side for the Round 1 encounter at Cardiff Arms Park, as Ireland return to U20 Six Nations action for the first time since March 2020.

Kendellen is one of five players included in Murphy's Match Day 26 - three extra players can be named on the replacements bench due to the condensed nature of the tournament - who made their Guinness PRO14 debuts this season, including Jamie Osborne and Ben Moxham in the back three and Alex Soroka in the back row.

Leinster's Osborne and Moxham of Ulster are joined in the back three by Josh O'Connor with Connacht duo Cathal Forde and Shane Jennings making up the midfield partnership. It's an all-Ulster half-back pairing as Conor McKee and James Humphreys start at scrum-half and out-half respectively.

In the front row, Leinster's Temi Lasisi, Ronan Loughnane and Sam Illo pack down together, while Mark Morrissey and Harry Sheridan are named in the second row. Soroka - who won two caps during the 2020 U20 Six Nations - starts at blindside flanker with Connacht's Oisin McCormack at seven and Kendellen at number eight.

With 11 replacements named, Murphy has plenty of options on the bench as Ireland get their campaign underway in Cardiff. Tim Corkery, who made his Leinster debut against Zebre back in March, is the fifth player in the Match Day squad with senior experience to his name, while the out-half also featured for Ireland during last year's Six Nations

Commenting on his selection, Head Coach Murphy said: "The squad and management have worked tirelessly over the last number of months in preparation for the Six Nations, and the 26 players selected for Saturday have the honour of representing the group against Scotland. We are excited about the challenge ahead and the prospect of the Ireland U20s back in action again."

Supporters in the Republic of Ireland can watch Saturday's game live on RTÉ 1, while there will be coverage on the BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Ireland U20s (v Scotland):

15. Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Naas RFC/Leinster)
14. Ben Moxham (Larne High School/Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
13. Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
12. Cathal Forde (Colaiste Iognaid/Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
11. Josh O'Connor (St Peter’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
10. James Humphreys (Dean Close School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
9. Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)


1. Temi Lasisi (CBS Enniscorthy/Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
2. Ronan Loughnane (Cistercian College Roscrea/UCD RFC/Leinster)
3. Sam Illo (Wesley College/Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
4. Mark Morrissey (Blackrock College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
5. Harry Sheridan (Sullivan Upper School/Dublin University FC/Ulster)
6. Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Clontarf RFC/Leinster)
7. Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
8. Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster)(Captain)


16. Eoin de Buitléar (Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiáran/An Ghaeltacht/Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
17. Jack Boyle (St Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
18. Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Garryowen RFC/Munster)
19. Jack Kelleher (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster)
20. Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
21. Will Reilly (CBS Portlaoise/MU Barnhall/Leinster)
22. Tim Corkery (St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny/UCD RFC/Leinster)
23. Chris Cosgrave (St Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
24. Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Sligo RFC/Connacht)
25. Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)
26. Daniel Okeke (Ard Scoil Ris/Shannon RFC/Munster).

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