The Greencore Munster Rugby Academy was formed in 2004 “to prepare young players for life in and beyond professional rugby”.
A programme that players can follow for up to three years, the first Academy group of players was selected and split into Level 2 and Level 1 members, now known as the Academy and sub-Academy.
The initial crop of 22 players included Keith Earls, Billy Holland, Duncan Williams, Donnacha Ryan and the inaugural winner of the Academy player of the Year award, Tomás O’Leary.
Academy players receive coaching and guidance from Munster Rugby staff and play with their clubs in the All Ireland League.
The current conventional pathway to the Academy sees players initially selected from clubs and schools to one of the four Munster Rugby Regional Development Squads (east, north, south and west).
From there they move up to the Munster age-grade squads (U18 Clubs, U18 Schools, U19s and U20s), sub-Academy and then Academy.
With Academy players playing All Ireland League rugby throughout the season, AIL games are monitored closely with the best club players also scouted.
The door is never closed on young players who leave the pathway or are late developers.
On average, three players progress from the Academy into the senior squad each year with the majority of the Munster squad having come through the Academy system.
2018/19 Greencore Munster Rugby Academy
Promoted: Calvin Nash (Centre/Wing/Young Munster) from year 2, Liam O’Connor (Prop/Cork Con) from year 3, Fineen Wycherley (Lock/Young Munster) from year 2.
Year 3: Gavin Coombes (Back-row/Young Munster), Shane Daly (Centre/Cork Constitution), Sean O’Connor (Lock/Garryowen).
Year 2: Craig Casey (Scrum-half/Shannon), Liam Coombes (Back three/Garryowen), Keynon Knox (Prop/UL Bohs), James McCarthy (Full-back/UL Bohs), Alex McHenry (Centre/Cork Constitution), Jack O’Sullivan (Back row/UCC), Jack Stafford (Scrum-half/Shannon), Alan Tynan (Full-back/out-half/Young Munster).
Year 1: Thomas Ahern (Lock/Shannon), Diarmuid Barron (Hooker/Garryowen), Jack Daly (Back-row/Garryowen), Ben Healy (Out-half/Garryowen), James French (Prop/UCC), Seán French (Centre/Cork Constitution), Eoghan Clarke (Hooker/Shannon), Jonathan Wren (Back three/Cork Constitution), Josh Wycherley (Prop/Young Munster).
Peter Malone – Elite Player Development Manager
Colm McMahon – Elite Player Development Officer
Greig Oliver – Elite Player Development Officer
Mark Butler – National Talent Coach
Damien O’Donoghue – Lead Academy S&C
Owen Tarrant – Academy S&C
Feargal O’Callaghan – Lead Sub Academy S&C
Ross Callaghan – Sub Academy S&C
Danielle Cunningham – Sub Academy S&C
Brian Fitzgerald – Video Analyst
Marc Beggs – Lead Academy Physio
Shane Malone – Academy Physio
Richard Kelly – Academy Nutritionist
Cathal Sheridan – Mental Skills Coach
Current first team members that have come through the Academy (Ireland internationals in bold):
VIDEO | About The Academy (Part 1)
VIDEO | About The Academy (Part 2)
DFP – Right Column – HalfPage
DFP – Right Column – MPU
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