The three-day event will see a series of six matches played with Provinces awarded two points for a win and one point for a draw. The format leaves for an exciting finale in the Sunday morning outings.
The Interprovincial series will be the first step in the process of selecting the FAI Schools International 18-man squad which will compete in the Centenary Shield competition. The 2017/18 campaign will see the Irish away to Wales and England in their opening fixtures and home to their counterparts Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Ulster won this prestigious tournament last season in a pulsating conclusion but will they retain the favourities tag this time out? The reigning Champions open their account against Connacht at 4pm as they kick starting proceedings. Then Leinster will face Munster (pictured above) at 5.30pm with all games taking place in the AUL Complex, Clonshaugh.
An impressive 13-players will make a welcome return from last season with one from Leinster, three from Ulster, four from Munster and five from Connacht all starring.
Two of these players have already been capped for the Republic of Ireland Schools select in the Centenary Shield in 2016 with Ronan Manning (Yeats College and formerly of Calasanctius College, Oranmore) and Darryl Walsh (St. Declan’s College, Waterford) featuring extensively for Paddy O’Reilly’s charges.
It will be another stern contest for the provincial sides as Connacht, Ulster and Leinster all finished well and could have won the title twelve months previously so an opening day win will be vital for these lads.
Leinster have a phenomenal record in this tournament, having captured the title 12 times in 16 years. Their latest victory came in 2015 when they snatched a win at the death to take the title from Munster but only by goal difference, the slightest of margins in that campaign.
Ian Ryan (St. Kevin’s Community School, Clondalkin) takes over the managerial baton from Albert Sugg (St. Kilian’s DSD). Continuing alongside Ian will be school colleague Fintan Sheridan and newbie Davey Cullen who applies his trade in Woodbrook College, Bray. The trio will again be assisted by GK Coach Stephen O’Reilly and physio Ferdia McKeon.
It’s a new look Leinster outfit with the Dublin schools supplying a array of talent most notably from Balbriggan, Blackrock, Clondalkin, Coolock, Corduff, Cabinteely, Donaghmede and Templeogue. As well as outside the Pale; as Wexford Town, Thomastown, Navan, Trim and Maynooth are all represented. Another scholar to see a return to this Leinster outfit is Templeogue College starlet Jack Ryan.
St. Joseph’s College grad Alan Murphy is in a very strong position in Connacht with young goalkeeper Lorcan Callaghan (St. Mary’s College, Ballysadare) making an appearance for a third consecutive season along with netminder Cian Mulryan (St. Joseph’s College, Galway), Ryan Smith (Summerhill College, Sligo), Ronan Manning (Yeats College) and Aaron Perry (St. Attracta’s Community School, Sligo). Their experience should add some versatility to the mix.
Connacht last won the title back in 2013. Can these talented individuals secure success this time around as colleague’s Alex Lee and Alan Murphy join forces again with Alan to drive them forward in this season’s endeavours
Munster to their credit have experienced Interprovincial success back in 2006 in Limerick and again in 2012 when the tournament was moved to Dublin so they’re no strangers to upsetting the odds. They came extremely close to capturing the honours two years ago, but can they go one better now this weekend. It looks like a strong squad has been named for this Interprovincial battle.
Manager Derek O’Brien who teaches in Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore has been around the Interprovincial setup for quite a few years now. His experience at this level of competition will be invaluable. Added to this recipe is a return for quartet Darryl Walsh (St. Declan’s CC, Waterford), Beinean O’Brien (St. Colman’s College, Fermoy), Jack Larkin (Ardscoil na Mara) and Adam Conway (De La Salle College, Waterford) who all impressed last season for the Southerners.
Darryl Walsh will be a key player in this weekend’s events. The young Waterford star progressed to the International ranks last season and captained the Republic of Ireland Schools against England. A definite one to watch out for the future.
Football strongholds such as St. Francis College, Rochestown have three players featuring with goalkeeper Alan Kelleher, Colin O’Mahony and Rory Doyle all selected. The Roco trio experienced National Cup success with their School last March when they captured the Bank of Ireland FAI Schools Tom Ticher Junior Cup following the successful demolition of St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny on spot-kicks as Kelleher performed some heroics that afternoon in Home Farm as Doyle captained the side winning out 4-2 after a stalemate in extra time. Doyle also went on to capture the Bank of Ireland FAI Schools Dr. Tony O’Neill Senior Cup with St. Francis to round off a Cup double for the youngster and his high flying School as they saw off Westport side Rice College who ironically enough don’t have any players featured for Connacht.
The Interprovincial series will make for some interesting rematches as the Letterkenny contingency that Rochestown met that day will see Connor O’Reilly and James Carolan line out for Ulster. St. Eunan’s were missing their central midfielder and team Captain Michael Gallagher that afternoon as he was ruled out due to injury but he’s fit and ready to go for Ulster on Friday afternoon!
Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair pupil Ethan Harkin enjoyed a wonderful Cup campaign himself for the Gweedore side as the youngster helped his school mates to National honours in the Bank of Ireland FAI Schools John Murphy Senior ‘B’ Cup back in February when they overcame Gaelcholáiste na Mara of Arklow in Clones. Surprisingly there are no scholars selected for that Wicklow crew in the Leinster select.
One notable absentee for the Northerners is student Daragh Ellison (St. Eunan’s College). The youngster will miss out on the Interprovincial series as he trials this weekend in Stoke City. A major setback for Browne’s boys as they attempt to retain the title.
The 2016 Champions will look on the experience of Adam O’Connor (St. Clare’s College, Ballyjamesduff), Corrie Lee Bogan (St Columba’s College, Stranorlar) and Scott Prendergast (Virginia College) who already have tasted success following their selection last season.
Can management duo Paul Browne and David O’Herlihy (St. Eunan’s College) steer them to a two in row? Only time will tell.
Balbriggan Community College mastermind William O’Connor will take over as Head Coach from Paddy O’Reilly (Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun) who steps down from the position following five years in the management fold. O’Connor will be assisted by Coach John McShane (Dublin Oak Academy, Bray), GK Coach Conor Foley (Athlone Community College) and Performance Analyst Ollie Horgan (St. Eunan’s College).
Following the tournament on Sunday evening, a training squad will be selected by the Irish Schools’ management team with their first session scheduled for Saturday, November 25 in Abbotstown. The final squad will be announced after Christmas for the first International fixture on February 15, away to Wales.
In keeping with the long-standing tradition of maintaining the interest in the competition until the final matches on Sunday, the draw for Saturday’s and Sunday’s matches will be made following the games on Friday evening.
Leinster: Kian Clarke & Mitch Byrne (Moyle Park College, Clondalkin), Cian Lee (Boyne Community School), Peter Adigun (Riversdale Community College), Padraig Finnerty (St. Patrick’s Classical School, Navan), Dylan Thornton(Cabinteely Community School), Sonny Conway & Jake Walker (St. Kevin’s CC, Clondalkin), Alex Kelly (Maynooth PPS), Jack Ryan (Templeogue College), Lido Lotafa (Balbriggan Community College), Kallum Broaders (CBS Wexford), Michael O’Keane (Blackrock College), Colm Whelan (Grennan College, Thomastown), Ali Regbha (Chanel College, Coolock), Seán Bohan (Gaelcholáiste Reachrann, Donaghmede)
Management: Ian Ryan & Fintan Sheridan (St. Kevin’s CC, Clondalkin), Davey Cullen (Woodbrook College, Bray), Stephen O’Reilly (GK Coach), Ferdia McKeown (Physio)
Munster: Robert Osborne (St. Brendan’s College, Killarney), Mike Nzongong & Adam Conway (De La Salle College, Waterford), Cian Bargary (Cashel CS), Jack Larkin (Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore), Cian Murphy (Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cahir) Darryl Walsh (St. Declan’s CC), Jack Forde (Glanmire CC), Shane O’Riordan (Midleton CBS), Beineoin O’Brien(St. Colman’s College, Fermoy), Douwe Van Sindron & Brian Lynch (Presentation Brothers College, Cork), Dean Beresford (St. Augustine’s College, Dungarvan), Alan Kelliher, Colin O’Mahony & Rory Doyle (St. Francis College, Rochestown)
Management: Derek O’Brien (Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore), Daniel Murphy (Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig), Cathal Lordan (St. Francis College, Rochestown), Conor Coad (Coach), Darryl McGrath (Physio)
Ulster: Daniel Houghton & Fionn McClure (Carndonagh Community School), Corrie-Lee Bogan (St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar), Scott Prendergast, Seosamh Sheerin & Josh Hannon (Virginia College), Ethan Harkin (Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair), James Carolan, Michael Gallagher & Connor O’Reilly (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny), AdamO’Connor (St. Clare’s College, Ballyjamesduff), Liam Murray (Patrician High School, Carrickmacross), Ethan Coll (Deele College, Raphoe), Stephen Doherty (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Mark McAteer (Mulroy College, Milford), Aaron Mulligan (Ballybay Community College)
Management: Paul Browne & David O’Herlihy (St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny)
Connacht: Lorcan Callaghan (St. Mary’s College, Ballysadare), Ryan Smith & Gearoid Mulligan (Summerhill College, Sligo), Liam Whyte (St. Gerald’s College, Castlebar), Hakeen Ryan, Harry Rogers, Colin Kelly & Cian Mulryan (St. Joseph’s College, Galway), Callum McElvery (Holy Rosary College, Mountbellow), Ronan Manning, Dónal Higgins & Adam Rooney (Yeats College, Galway), Aaron Perry & Liam Kerrigan (St. Attracta’s CS, Tubbercurry), Niall Morohan(Carrick on Shannon Community School), Calym Crowe (Coláiste na Coiribe, Knocknacarra)
Management: Alan Murphy & Alex Lee (St. Joseph’s College, Galway), Kevin Murphy (Coach)
Under-18 Boys’ Interprovnicial Tournament
Friday, November 10
4.00pm Ulster v Connacht
5.30pm Leinster v Munster
Saturday, November 11
3.00pm Draw will be made on Friday evening
4.30pm Draw will be made on Friday evening
Sunday, November 12
10.00am Fixtures TBC
11.30am Fixtures TBC