Leinster’s U-18 and U-16s face a mighty battle to win back the respective titles from their Ulster counterparts at Newpark this weekend.
At the older age group, all three provinces have U-18 international experience to draw on, making for a high quality competition from which many are already regular division one players in their respective regions.
Four of the summer’s Ireland U-18 players who won the Home Nations title are still eligible, Three Rock’s Tom Samuel, Shane Madeley and David McCrea along with Railway Union goalkeeper Mark Ingram making up an experienced core.
They are among eight returnees from last season’s blues though injury to Alan White and Mark Ryan among others meant the number might have been more.
But Ulster can also call upon five players from that same international selection with Irish skipper Ian Sloan (Cookstown) taking on the vice-captaincy while Raphoe man Matthew Lecky leads the side from the back.
Owen Magee, Paul Ritchie and Matthew Bell add their quality to the mix while seven of Banbridge Academy’s recent All-Ireland school’s winning side are involved.
For Munster, Nick Burns is their talisman and is their one player with Irish U-18 experience but Ashton man Richard Lynch was with the U-16s and is a tricky customer. Wesley Brownlow offers a corner option to match Burns.
Limerick man Nathan Eacrett is another lively presence while five of the Midleton side that reached the school’s semi-final come into the tournament on a high.
At U-16 level, for many it is a first taste of interpro action with Gareth Borland’s Leinster U-16 boy’s having just four players available for a second year with the panel.
It is a well-prepared selection, though, following a more regular training regime during the summer months.
They will be hoping to win their third title in four years after relinquishing the crown to Ulster in 2009. Goalkeeper Shane Bourke, from St Killians, retains his place as one of the two net-minders while Lee Cole and Ben Campbell – both from St Andrew’s – are also back for another year.
George Dagg became Sandford Park’s first representative for over five years when he received a call-up last year and he is the fourth to retain his place and is joined in the panel by school-mate Hugh Lavery.
In total, at U-16 level, 22 different schools and 20 clubs are represented across the three provinces – a high degree of diversity across the regions.
** Tickets are €7 per day for adults and €15 for all three days of the event. For students, entry is €2 per day while U-13s go in free. Limited parking is available in the school, especially on Friday.
U-18 Match Schedule
Friday: Leinster vs Ulster, 12pm; Leinster vs Munster 4pm
Saturday 20: Munster vs Ulster, 12pm; Munster vs Leinster, 4pm
Sunday: Ulster vs Munster, 12pm; Ulster vs Leinster, 4pm
Leinster U-18 selection: Mark Ingram (GK, Railway Union/Oatlands), Stefan Gallagher (GK, Avoca/Newpark), David McCrea (TRR/Wesley), David Cole (Monkstown/St Andrews), Harry Spain (Suttonians/Sutton Park), Robbie Burke (Corinthian/Wesley), Robbie Clarke (Corinthian/Wesley), Fiachra Maher (Railway Union/St Andrews), Tom Samuel (TRR/Wesley), Stephen Nolan (Monkstown/St Andrews), Kirk Shimmins (Pembroke/Wesley), Jeffrey Spillane (Railway Union/Blackrock College), Jeremy Duncan (Railway Union/Kilkenny), David Watkins (Monkstown/St Andrews), Ross Canning (TRR/St Columbas), Johnny Byrnes (Monkstown/Newpark), Andrew Malcolm (Corinthian/Wesley), Shane Madeley (TRR/Wesley)
U-16 Match Schedule
Friday: Leinster vs Ulster, 10am; Leinster vs Munster 2pm
Saturday: Munster vs Ulster, 10am; Munster vs Leinster, 2pm
Sunday: Ulster vs Munster, 10am; Ulster vs Leinster, 2pm
Leinster U-16 boys: Mark Bergin (Sutton Park/Pembroke), Shane Bourke (St Killians/YMCA), Gavin Browne (St Andrew’s/Monkstown), Ben Campbell (St Andrew’s/YMCA), Lee Cole (St Andrew’s/Monkstown), George Dagg (Sandford Park/Pembroke), Jonathon Dalrymple (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Cillian Hynes (St Andrew’s/Pembroke), David Kane (St Killians/Pembroke), Hugh Lavery (Sandford Park/Pembroke), Mark Loughrey (St Andrew’s/Pembroke), Luke Madeley (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Kevin Mullins (Mount Temple/Clontarf), David Nolan (St Andrew’s/Monkstown), Brian O’Malley (Castleknock Community College/Glenanne), Jack Ryan (St Andrew’s/Pembroke), Dylan Shirley (Wesley College/Three Rock Rovers), Alex Serviss (St Andrew’s/Pembroke)