Four of Connacht’s Grand Slam winning u20 side have been named in the Irish XV to play Wales at Dubarry Park tonight (Friday 7.05pm).
Strong support is expected at the Buccaneers venue where two of the youngsters from the club will line-out for the Irish team in this opening fixture of the Six Nations competiton.
Fullback Shane Layden and second row Daniel Qualter join Corinthians’ scrumhalf Kieran Marmion and openside flanker Aaron Conneely.
This is the seventh season these matches, sponsored by Electric Ireland, have been played in Athlone
Ireland will play three home matches in Dubarry Park with Italy travelling on February 24 before Scotland arrive on March 9.
All four Connacht players were key figures in Connacht’s interprovincial success this season. Qualter, who was a regular in the Ireland team last season, will be a key figure in the second row against Wales on Friday night. A versatile sportsman, he has won a Connacht Senior Schools rugby medal with Summerhill College, Sligo, and also played minor football with Roscommon.
Layden, who hails from Carrick-on-Shannon, is an exciting and direct runner who claimed a hat-trick of tries in Connacht’s 32-19 victory over Munster to complete the Grand Slam.
Flanker Conneely, a former schools cup winner with the Jes in Galway, was a regular in the Ireland pack last season, and he is joined by Corinthians clubmate,the lively Kieran Marmion.
Tickets are on sale at Dubarry Park for all three games. Stand tickets are priced at €20; ground/terrace €15, and student/OAP €10. For tickets call (086) 1732711.
Rail service for Six Nations
Iarnród Éireann will run a special train for the Ireland v Wales international on Sunday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The train departs Galway at 10.05am, serving Athenry at 10.19am, Ballinasloe at 10.48am, Athlone at 11.06am, Tullamore at 11.31am, arriving at Heuston Station at 12.45pm. Return services depart Heuston Station at 6.45pm and 8.30pm. Iarnród Éireann advises supporters they will not be able to board trains unless they are in possession of a validtrain ticket.