World Rugby U20 Championship: Munster Representatives
30th May 2017 By The Editor
Georgia and the World Rugby U20 Championship beckons for ten of Munster’s brightest talents, and we profile each of them ahead of Ireland U20’s tournament opener against Italy tomorrow.
Diarmuid Barron – Hooker (sub-Academy)
Winning the Munster Schools Senior Cup with Rockwell in 2015, the following year he captained the Tipperary school. Now playing club rugby with Garryowen, the hooker has represented both province and country at U18 and U19 level and now finds himself in line for his first international U20 cap.
Joey Conway – Prop (sub-Academy)
A loosehead prop from Castleconnell who initially played with UL Bohemians before going on to represent Castletroy College in the Munster Schools Senior and Junior Cup, Conway won the latter as well as a Bowen Shield. Winning Interpro titles with the Munster U18s and U19s, he also featured for the Munster U20 & Development side earlier this season. Now playing senior rugby with UL Bohs, he featured in every game of the 2017 6 Nations.
Gavin Coombes – Back row (Academy)
Coombes first plied his trade with Skibbereen RFC before lining out as captain for Bandon Grammar in the Munster Schools Senior Cup when they reached the quarter-final last year. Later representing Munster and Ireland at U19, the number 8’s representative career started with Munster U18 Schools where he won the 2014/15 Interprovincial title. The first player from Skibbereen to earn a place in the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy, he made four Ireland U20 appearances at this year’s 6 Nations, scoring a try against England, and added a British and Irish Cup title to his list of achievements in April.
John Foley – Back row (Academy)
Foley played his underage rugby with UL Bohs prior to packing down for St Munchin’s in the Munster Schools Senior Cup. Impressing at age grade level, he played for both province and country at U18 Schools, claiming Interprovincial honours in 2014/15. Progressing steadily through the ranks, Foley helped Munster U20s to last season’s Interprovincial title and was included in the Ireland U20 squad for the 2016 6 Nations. However it wasn’t until this year’s competition that he made his competitive debut – against England – while back in November he was one of five Academy players to feature in Munster’s win over the Maori All Blacks. The Clare native featured twice for Munster A in this season’s B&I Cup winning campaign.
Fineen Wycherley – Lock (Academy)
First taking to the field for Bantry Bay RFC, the West Cork native attended Cistercian College Roscrea where he won a Leinster Schools Senior Cup title in 2015 and reached the final again in 2016. In what proved to be a big season for the second rower, 2015/16 saw him claim the U19 Interprovincial title with Munster. Helping Munster A to the British and Irish Cup title this season, Wycherley, who now plays his club rugby at Young Munster, played four games in the 2017 6 Nations and made his PRO12 debut away to Cardiff in March before also featuring against Treviso the following month.
Colm Hogan – Wing/Fullback (sub-Academy)
Another excellent chance for Glenstal Abbey alumni and Trinity attendee, Hogan, to show what he can do in the back line, having played a significant part in this year’s U20 6 Nations Championship, playing four games. A consistent operator who can slot in at full-back when not on the wings, he previously captained the Munster U20/Development side and played for Ireland Schools in the Rugby Europe U18 Championship two years ago.
Dave McCarthy – Centre (sub-Academy)*
One of two uncapped Munster players in the squad at U20 level, with a nose for the tryline and a solid performer off the boot, Union Hall native Dave McCarthy has impressed throughout his representative career to date which includes U18 and U19 appearances for both province and country, as well as a Munster A debut in January. This coupled with his performances at club level for Garryowen have earned the centre a place on the squad and, like Coombes, selection on the world stage would be another fitting milestone in the development of the former Skibbereen clubman, bringing more success to West Cork.
Calvin Nash – Winger/Centre (Academy)
Another of those with senior experience, the Crescent College Comprehensive graduate pushed on to earn his first PRO12 start against Edinburgh in early February at the age of just 19 having already impressed with the Munster A side in this season’s B&I Cup. Having previously represented Munster and Ireland at U18 Schools – winning the 14/15 Interpro – and U19, Nash scored a cracking try against Wales in this season’s 6 Nations where he wore the captain’s armband on a number of occasions – recovering from an early injury disappointment in his first game as captain to lead the side in the run-in.
Jack Stafford – Scrum Half (sub-Academy)
Stafford has been on the radar in Munster for a long time, being selected in the Munster Schools Team of the Year in 2014 when he was in just 4th year and again in his final year with Glenstal Abbey, and has been performing well with Shannon in Division 1B. The Wexford native, who began his rugby career with Wexford Wanderers, following in the footsteps of his father, has already come off the bench twice in this year’s 6 Nations. On the provincial front he has lined out for Munster U18 Schools, U19, U20/Development and made his B&I Cup debut in Munster A’s semi final win over Ealing Trailfinders in March.
Alan Tynan – Out Half (sub-Academy)*
Tynan played a pivotal part in Young Munster’s strong All-Ireland League campaign this season. The out half, who played both hurling and football for Tipperary at minor level, has a big boot, and can also run from deep as evidenced in a special try in the AIL semi-final defeat to Clontarf. Winning the Leinster Schools Senior Cup alongside Wycherley for Roscrea and later representing Ireland U19s, he is still awaiting his competitive Ireland U20 debut having missed out on 6 Nations selection earlier in the year. Featuring for Munster U20/Development in this season’s interprovincial campaign, like McCarthy, Tynan made his Munster A debut against Doncaster Knights in Bandon RFC in January.