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Academy Update | April 2023

6th April 2023 By The Editor

Elite Player Development Officer Greig Oliver.

Elite Player Development Officer Greig Oliver. Inpho

We spoke to Elite Player Development Officer Greig Oliver for the latest Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

On the injury front,  Kieran Ryan (ankle), Mark Donnelly (knee), Cian Hurley (hand) and Conor Phillips (hand) are all unavailable.

Edwin Edogbo and Jack Oliver recently returned from injury with Jack making a try-scoring return for Garryowen in the AIL at the weekend.

Grand Slam for the Ireland U20s & looking towards the World Championship…

“It’s been a great couple of years for the Ireland U20s. It’s a confirmation period for a lot of young players, whether it’s Academy or NTS players, when they move into professional squads.

“It’s a good yardstick to see where they are, especially when they’re playing week in, week out in that environment.

“It was great to have five players involved, Ruadhán [Quinn] has played really well and was really consistent across the five games and it’s been great for Brian [Gleeson] Evan [O’Connell], Danny [Sheahan] and Jacob [Sheahan] especially because they’re all under-19 and have another crack at it next year.

“There were a couple of boys who missed out and could be included for the Junior World Cup in South Africa in June.

“That will be another step up on that world stage, playing southern hemisphere opposition. Sometime you can see that early maturation of a number of teams in that competition so it’s going to be a different experience for them. Hopefully we’ll get a good representation in that squad.”

Another strong season for Academy players in the AIL…

“That’s the stage for our Academy, NTS (National Talent Squad) and PTS (Provincial Talent Squad) players. The AIL is so important for their development. The Academy players train with the senior squad from Monday to Friday and being able to play at the weekend with their clubs is fantastic.

“The players are watched by Academy staff and each week we can review the footage and it just brings their development together, having to review their games and preview their games so it’s a huge part of their development.

“The latter part of the season, a lot of players will be involved in play-off games and it’s a great experience to be involved in that. It’s massive for players to be in the Munster environment and their club environment as well, it gives them a real focus week in, week out.”

Strong representation in Ireland underage sides…

See the Ireland U19 squad here, the Ireland U18 Schools squad here & the Ireland & the Ireland U18 Clubs & Schools squad here

“The U19s are currently in France for two Tests near Toulouse and we have six players in that. There were also a few players involved in the warm-up games against Japan. We’re looking forward to seeing how they get on and Mark Butler is coaching them so we’ll get a good insight into how they get on in that environment.

“There are eight players in the Ireland U18 Schools, Brendan O’Connor is on the coaching team and Brandon Shanahan will be the analyst. They have a tournament in Dublin next week, we’ll be monitoring the players involved carefully and we have some exciting talent in there.

“The U18 Clubs and Schools team, we have five players in that with Fiach O’Loughlin coaching and James O’Leary involved with the S&C. They lost narrowly to Italy on Sunday but there were some good performances so we’ll be watching carefully and seeing how they all progress.”

Shay McCarthy and Daniel Hurley linking up with the Academy during this season…

“They’ve trained really well and are really hitting their straps now in senior training. They’re showing their promise day in, day out so they’re going really well.

“We’re monitoring how they are getting on with their clubs as well and the pair of them are taking their chance.”

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