Two Mayo men have been selected as Ireland head coach Richie Murphy has named his matchday squad for the opening game of the U20 Six Nations against Wales in Colwyn Bay on Friday night (Kick-off 7pm, live on Virgin Media Two).
Ballina’s Harry West and Geesala’s Fiachna Barrett are among the replacements.
It has been a special week for the Barrett family, as Fiachna’s cousin Clara was selected on the Irish Combined Provinces XV, a 43-strong squad which is competing in the Celtic Challenge competition. They defeated Wales 27-26 at Cardiff Arms Park. They will will face Scotland next Saturday in the Kingspan Stadium.
Gus McCarthy captains Ireland as they begin their 2023 Championship against the Welsh at Stadiwm CSM, with three players who featured during last year’s Grand Slam-winning campaign selected to start.
Leinster duo Diarmuid Mangan and Conor O’Tighearnaigh start in the second row, while Ulster back row James McNabney is named at blindside flanker.
Additionally, three players – Sam Prendergast, George Hadden, and Harry West – played for Ireland during the U20s Summer Series in Italy last year, ensuring Murphy’s squad contains valuable experience heading into Friday’s Championship opener.
Prendergast, the younger brother of Ireland international Cian, starts at out-half in a half-back pairing with Fintan Gunne. Hugh Cooney and John Devine are named in the midfield, with James Nicholson, Ike Anagu and Hugh Gavin selected in the back three.
Up front, Hadden is joined in the front row by skipper McCarthy and Paddy McCarthy, the younger brother of Ireland second row Joe.
Mangan and O’Tighearnaigh are in the engine room, with McNabney and Munster duo Ruadhán Quinn and Brian Gleeson in the back row.
On the bench, Danny Sheahan, George Morris, Fiachna Barrett, Evan O’Connell and Jacob Sheahan provide the reinforcements in the pack, with Oscar Cawley, West and Henry McErlean completing the Match Day 23.
Commenting ahead of the game, Murphy said: “We are excited to get the Six Nations underway in Wales on Friday night, following a good period of preparation for the group. The squad have come together well over the last couple of weeks, gelling both on and off the pitch, and we have now turned the focus this week to performance.”
The match is live on Virgin Media Two/BBC iPlayer.
15. James Nicholson (UCD/Leinster)
14. Ike Anagu (La Rochelle/IQ Rugby)
13. Hugh Cooney (Clontarf/Leinster)
12. John Devine (Corinthians/Connacht)
11. Hugh Gavin (Galwegians/Connacht)
10. Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne/Leinster)
9. Fintan Gunne (Terenure/Leinster)
1. George Hadden (Clontarf/Leinster)
2. Gus McCarthy (UCD/Leinster)(captain)
3. Paddy McCarthy (DUFC/Leinster)
4. Diarmuid Mangan (UCD/Leinster)
5. Conor O’Tighearnaigh (UCD/Leinster)
6. James McNabney (Ballymena/Ulster)
7. Ruadhán Quinn (Old Crescent/Munster)
8. Brian Gleeson (Garryowen/Munster)
16. Danny Sheahan (UCC/Munster)
17. George Morris (Lansdowne/Leinster)
18. Fiachna Barrett (Corinthians/Connacht)
19. Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
20. Jacob Sheahan (UCC/Munster)
21. Oscar Cawley (Naas/Leinster)
22. Harry West (Buccaneers/Connacht)
23. Henry McErlean (Terenure/Leinster).