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Academy Update | November 2019

21st November 2019 By The Editor

Academy player Jonathan Wren in action for Cork Constitution.

Academy player Jonathan Wren in action for Cork Constitution. M. Lee Media

The Greencore Munster Rugby Academy squad have continued to train extensively with the senior squad over the past four weeks with players in action for Munster and their clubs since the start of the season.

10 Academy players played in the pre-season clashes against London Irish and Connacht with senior debuts for Thomas Ahern, Ben Healy, John Hodnett, Keynan Knox, Alan Tynan, Jack O’Sullivan and Jonathan Wren.

Diarmuid Barron, Liam Coombes, Knox and O’Sullivan have all featured in the Guinness PRO14 so far this season with Healy, Knox and O’Sullivan also included in Munster’s 41-man Champions Cup squad.

The Academy players have also seen plenty of action with their clubs in the All Ireland League since the start of the season. 15 Munster players featured in two Munster derby games over the past fortnight.

Six players featured for both sides of the Cork derby between UCC and Cork Constitution at the weekend as Con secured a 10-6 victory at the Mardyke.

The Academy’s Jonathan Wren was a try-scorer for Con with senior prop Brian Scott and Academy players Alex McHenry and Seán French also featuring for Cork Con. Academy duo Jack O’Sullivan and John Hodnett lined out for UCC in the derby.

There were nine Munster players in action for the Limerick derby between Young Munster and Garryowen at Tom Clifford Park last week.

Senior man Seán O’Connor captained Garryowen to a 19-13 victory with fellow senior man Neil Cronin and Academy players Ben Healy, Diarmuid Barron, Jack Daly and Jack Stafford also lining out for the Sky Blues. Healy kicked 14 points to guide Garryowen to the win.

Senior player Gavin Coombes and Academy men Alan Tynan and Josh Wycherley featured for Young Munster.

Speaking about the Academy players’ involvement with their clubs, Elite Player Development Officer Greig Oliver said: “It’s absolutely vital, especially when they are involved in local derbies. It’s great to get boys into that environment and obviously they’re part of Munster but their development is in with their clubs as well and that’s a partnership we have in Munster.

“It works well and we’re very appreciative of the clubs, they play the players when they can and it’s part of their development.

“The Celtic Cup at the start of the season was good but now the players have settled down now into club action and it’s great for the players to see how they progress in that environment.”

Increased exposure to training with the senior side is also proving beneficial with the Academy players training with the senior squad throughout pre-season.

“Being a World Cup year, the Academy players have had a lot of exposure to senior training and all of our players have been up there this year. Obviously the introduction of Stephen Larkham in the summer was fantastic and now Graham Rowntree is in as well. A lot of Academy players are still involved in senior sessions, which is great and can only help them going forward.”

A number of Munster Academy and sub-Academy players will be hoping to get selected for the Ireland U20s after fantastic representation from the province in last year’s Grand Slam-winning campaign.

“The Ireland U20s have a camp this week and that’s exciting for that batch of players getting prepared for the U20s 6 Nations and next summer’s World Championship,” said Oliver.

“It worked really well last year, all of Cork and the surrounding area got behind the team with a big crowd in for the England game and a sell-out of over eight thousand for the France game. There will be three games there this year at Irish Independent Park and that will be great for the players who get selected for the squad.“

Ireland U20s Tickets

Friday, January 31, 2020

Ireland v Scotland, Irish Independent Park, 7.15pm; Buy tickets here

Friday, February 7, 2020

Ireland v Wales, Irish Independent Park, 7.15pm; Buy tickets here

Friday, March 6, 2020

Ireland v Italy, Irish Independent Park, 7.15pm; Buy tickets here

Ticket Pricing

Family Terrace (2 adults & 2 Juniors): €30

Adult Stand: €20

Adult Terrace: €15

Junior (U16) Terrace or Stand: €10

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