Leinster

  • For many rugby fans in this part of the world, the changing weather signals the end of the club season and a well-earned break for players, coaches, officials and club officers. But there is still business to be done, and this coming Saturday, Ballinrobe RFC will host a Junior Interprovincial fixture for the first time ever.

    This year’s Connacht Junior squad, managed by Tuam’s Sean Higgins and Declan Slattery, will face off against Leinster in the opening fixture of the 3-match series in what is sure to be a mouth-watering encounter.

    The match day squad is not due to be named until later this week (Wednesday night) but there are 11 clubs from all over the province with players in the reckoning – Ballinrobe, Galwegians, Buccaneers, Monivea, Sligo, Tuam, Dunmore, Westport, Castlebar, NUIG and Ballina.

    From a local point of view its great to see four Mayo clubs represented with Ballinrobe trio of Daniel Keane, Rob Holian and Tom Staunton all in with a shout of making the squad for the opener this weekend on their home soil.

    Last season, number 8 Jack Winters was Ballinrobe’s only inclusion in the squad and the current Galwegians back-rower represented his former club with distinction.

    Keane and Holian were particularly impressive for Ballinrobe throughout the season and Tom Staunton was recently voted “Players Player of the Year” for 2018. Staunton, a native of Tourmakeady, will captain the club for the 2018/2019 season

    The game kicks off at 2.30 in The Green this coming Saturday and a huge crowd is expected.

  • Connacht captain John Muldoon will lead his province out in his 327th and final appearance against Leinster in the Guinness PRO-14 tomorrow. 

    Tom Farrell and Bundee Aki continue their partnership in midfield while Ireland internationals Tiernan O'Halloran, Matt Healy and Niyi Adeolokun all start in the back three. 

    Connacht: 

    (15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt).

    Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Darragh Leader.


     

  • Galway's under 21 hurlers will make a small piece of history this evening when they play their first ever game in the Bord Gáis Energy Leinster under 21 Hurling Championship.

    The likes of Sean Loftus and Brian Concannon - both of whom have senior experience - start against Offaly at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park tonight. It will be Galway's first foray into the Leinster under 21 championship following a ruling at Congress in 2017. Interestingly though, it is not the first provincial campaign for the county having participated in the Munster championship from the inception of the under 21 competition in 1964 until they left the province in 1969. In fact Galway and Kerry played the inaugural fixture in the Munster campaign in 1964. They played two Munster finals in their sojourn in the province, in 1965 & 1967.  

    Tonight's other quarter final sees Westmeath take on Dublin in Mullingar. Both games have 7.30 throw-ins.