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Academy Update | January 2020

24th January 2020 By The Editor

Elite Player Development Manager Peter Malone.

Elite Player Development Manager Peter Malone. Inpho

In the first Academy Update of 2020, Elite Player Development Manager Peter Malone provides the latest news from the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

In the first Academy Update of 2020, Elite Player Development Manager Peter Malone provides the latest news from the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

16 of the 19 Academy squad were in action last weekend as Ben Healy and Jack O’Sullivan made their Champions Cup debuts and 14 players lined out for Munster A in their win over Connacht A.

Five Munster players have been named in the Ireland U20s squad for the 6 Nations squad – Academy players Thomas Ahern and Eoin O’Connor, along with Cian Hurley (Garryowen), Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution) and Harry O’Riordan (UCC).

In staff news, Colm McMahon has moved from his Elite Player Development Officer role at the Academy to the Head of Rugby Development position.

See the latest update from Peter Malone below.

16 Academy players in action last weekend…

“Seeing Ben Healy and Jack O’Sullivan come off the bench and do well in a Champions Cup game and to see very recent graduates Craig Casey, Calvin Nash and our young players contribute to the performance was very positive.

“It’s a credit to them how well they’ve developed. There is also a lot of credit due to the schools and clubs who have played a big part in their development.

“Our Munster A team played Connacht A on the Thomond Park back pitch on Saturday with 14 Academy players involved.

“Overall it was a very positive performance. We led 19-14 at half-time and we opened up in the second half and it finished 52 – 14. There were some excellent performances from several players across the team.

“All the senior coaches and senior players were there and it was good for our young player to perform so well. Hopefully there were a few Academy players who have played themselves into the coaches’ thinking over the next six weeks.

“The big focus for us in the Academy now is to get our players into as good a physical and technical rugby condition as possible to enable them to take their opportunity when it comes.”

Ben Healy and Jack O’Sullivan playing Champions Cup rugby…

“Ben is only second year Academy, two years ago he was playing in the Schools Senior Cup for Glenstal and Jack is in his third year out of school.

“They are both playing well and they have lots of potential so it’s very positive in their development and very positive for Craig Casey who had two years in the Academy before moving up to the senior squad this season.

“It shows that our National Talent Squad programme is really helping our players develop in their school years and accelerating their development. A lot of credit is due to Mark Butler, Danielle Cunningham and Ross Callaghan who work with our identified players while they are still at school.”

Five Munster players in the Ireland U20s squad for the 6 Nations…

“If a player performs at a national age-grade level it’s a great benchmark for them to be measured.

“I am looking forward to them getting game-time over the next seven weeks and impressing at that level.

“The number of Munster players in the squad this year is smaller than last year but we expected that with the group we had. Even though the number is smaller we believe we have a lot of quality in that group and we are looking forward to how they play over the next few weeks.”

Colm McMahon’s new role…

Firstly, like I would like to thank Colm for his dedication and commitment over the years and the impact that he has had in what is now a very successful Academy structure.

“This is a great opportunity for Colm to effect and influence our player pathway beginning in our clubs and schools. Colm takes over from Ultan O’Callaghan, who leaves a great legacy. Colm will now be involved with a younger age-group in our player pathway.

“Colm is a big loss to the Academy but we believe he can add great value to Munster Rugby in his new role as Colm has always been excellent at what he does.

“While he is no longer in the Academy we will continue to work closely with Colm in his new role.”

Appointing a new member of staff…

“We are currently reviewing our role structures to ensure we are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible.

“We have greatly progressed over the last 18 months and results are being seen through the performances of our players.

“Players like Ben Healy, Jack O’Sullivan and Craig Casey have progressed so quickly because of the Senior and Academy integration which has been a contributory factor to the success of the Academy.”

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