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Munster Players In Club Action & Academy Stars Making Mark

26th March 2020 By The Editor

Seán O

Seán O'Connor (left), Josh Wycherley, Neil Cronin and Ben Healy exchange pleasantries during the Limerick derby between Young Munster and Garryowen. Kieran Ryan Benson

30 Munster senior and Academy players lined out for their clubs in the 2019/20 All Ireland League campaign with the club season concluding prematurely due to ongoing concerns over the coronavirus.

All 19 Academy members and 11 senior players played in the All Ireland League this season with the majority of the Academy players lining out regularly for their clubs.

The 30 players have represented six Munster clubs in the top two divisions of the All Ireland League.

The largest representation over a weekend saw 18 Munster players line out for their clubs on the weekend of November 9/10.

Two Ireland internationals have been in club action – James Cronin scored a hat-trick for high-flying Highfield with Darren Sweetnam featuring for Cork Constitution.

The most Munster players involved in an AIL game saw nine Munster players line out in the Limerick derby between Young Munster and Garryowen at Tom Clifford Park.

Senior man Seán O’Connor captained Garryowen to a 19-13 victory in the clash with 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. Gavin Coombes and Academy men Alan Tynan and Josh Wycherley featured for Young Munster.

Senior man Seán O’Connor and Academy player Jack Stafford have featured regularly for Garryowen.

The Academy players who played the most club rugby are Cork Constitution duo Seán French and Alex McHenry, Garryowen’s Jack Daly and Jack Stafford (above), UCC pair James French (below) and John Hodnett (see one of his tries below), and Young Munster’s Alan Tynan and Josh Wycherley.

Academy prop James French in action for UCC.

Along with featuring in the AIL, four Munster players also played their part in the Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup final.

Cork Constitution defeated Young Munster in the decider with Con’s Seán French and Alex McHenry getting the bragging rights over the Cookies’ Alan Tynan and Josh Wycherley.

Reigning champions Cork Con lead the way in 1A with 14 wins from 14 games with Garryowen second, Young Munster fifth and UCC ninth.

Highfield lead Division 1B and are on course for yet another promotion after a fantastic number of seasons with Shannon in third place.

Action from the Munster Senior Cup final as Cork Constitution’s Alex McHenry is tackled by Alan Tynan with Seán French looking on.

Academy Players – Champions Cup & PRO14 Involvement

Seven Academy players have played in the Guinness PRO14 this season – Diarmuid Barron, Liam Coombes, Jake Flannery, Ben Healy, John Hodnett, Keynan Knox and Jack O’Sullivan.

Two Academy players have made their Champions Cup debuts – Ben Healy and Jack O’Sullivan.

Liam Coombes, Keynan Knox, Alex McHenry and Jack O’Sullivan will advance to the senior squad next season.

Academy Players – Munster A Action

17 of the 19 Academy players have also played for Munster A in the seven Celtic Cup clashes and Interpro games against Leinster A and Connacht A.

Jake Flannery and Keynan Knox were the only two senior players not to feature. Flannery was recovering from shoulder surgery during the Celtic Cup and Knox was in the senior squad.

Jake Flannery missed the opening months of the season after a shoulder surgery but has featured for Shannon in the AIL and made his PRO14 debut.

Academy Players – International Involvement

Thomas Ahern, Paddy Kelly and Eoin O’Connor were all included in Ireland U20s’ training camps ahead of the 6 Nations.

Waterford man Ahern, who has lined out for Shannon this season, scored three tries in three games as Ireland secured the Triple Crown.

An injury put paid to O’Connor’s 6 Nations hopes and he is continuing to rehab the injury.

Additionally, Jonathan Wren has spent time training with the Ireland 7s squad in Dublin.

Thomas Ahern has impressed for the Ireland U20s.

Thomas Ahern has impressed for the Ireland U20s.

Senior players – AIL action

James Cronin (Highfield), Neil Cronin (Garryowen), Seán O’Connor (Garryowen), Craig Casey (Shannon), Gavin Coombes (Young Munster), Liam O’Connor (Cork Constitution), Brian Scott (Cork Constitution), Liam Coombes (Garryowen), Alex Wootton (Garryowen), Darren Sweetnam (Cork Constitution), Ciaran Parker (Shannon).


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