The Leinster thread

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  1. #1
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    There seem to be a few Leinster fans on the board so I think it's time to set up a thread surrounding the Leinster squad, player interviews, scathing and complimentary match reports, opinion pieces (even Franno's!) and underage news. I doubt too many people would be interested in reading a thread dedicated to an interview with, say, a squad member like Devin Toner so this might be a useful way of archiving all that stuff.

    Without further ado, an interview with Devin Toner from today's Indo!:
    QUOTE
    http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/huge...rs-1895001.html

    HE'S heard them all before. From "what's the weather like up there?" to "woah, is the circus in town?"to the rather rudimentary Irish observation of "Jeez, you're fierce tall aren't ya?"

    What do you say in reply? "Ah, I'm wearing heels," or maybe you just nod and smile.

    Devin Toner is well used to pedestrians doing double takes as he strides by and the constant references to his height. None of it bothers him unduly and it cannot be denied that he has put his six feet and 10 inches to good use professionally.

    When lifting was legalised in rugby in the mid-1990s, leviathan second rows were suddenly obsolete and men such as England's Martin Bayfield and Wales' Derwyn Jones (both 6'10 like Toner) found themselves surplus to requirements as the line-out became a procedural source of possession.

    Thankfully, though lifting remains, the element of line-out competition is back in force as coaches realise the value of turnover possession out of touch and charge their video analysts to work on the opposition.

    Commendable

    Toner's height makes it inevitable that the line-out is a central facet of the 23-year-old's make-up but, with the encouragement of Leinster head coach Michael Cheika and forwards coach Jono Gibbes, the other aspects of his game have come on hugely -- notably his ball-carrying duties where he has a commendable policy of taking the ball from depth when standing starts seem to be all the rage.

    "It's one of the goals I've set myself, to try to get on the ball more and Jono has been working on it with me a lot. I do try to hit the ball with a bit of pace, you don't want to get the ball when there's a defender right in front of you and end up flopping to the ground.

    "Another big area I'm working on is scrummaging, getting my back straight and getting down low and that comes into play in clearing out rucks as well. When you're that bit taller, you constantly concentrate on getting low."

    Toner's physique has developed along with his game and he now weighs in at 120kilos (around 19 stone). It is a chassis that requires a large amount of fuel which he describes as "four or five Weetabix. in the morning and a few big feeds throughout the day".

    He is another member of the Leinster squad who disabuses the tired stereotype of a team of South Dublinites, having been reared in Moynalvey ("a church, a shop and a pub"), a tiny village in Meath close to the Kildare border.

    Like every hamlet in Ireland, Moynalvey has a GAA team to represent it but, though the football club inevitably came calling, Toner admits it just wasn't his game.

    "I played football in national school alright but went I went to Castleknock, it was rugby all the way. The club tried to put me in midfield once but I was a bit out of shape in my younger years and after one half, I knew I wasn't fit enough to do it."

    Once in Castleknock, he came under the stewardship of former Irish international out-half Mick Quinn and his younger brother Charlie who were in charge of the senior team. Charlie's brief was to look after the forwards and the colourful former Lansdowne and Leinster back-row had a big influence on Toner's development.

    "He's an interesting character sure enough," laughs Toner, "but though Charlie talked the talk as coach, he was also very hands on. He'd get stuck in, and show you how to ruck and maul and when you're that age you soak it all up.

    "Castleknock wouldn't be one of the more powerful schools, they haven't won a cup since the 1950s or '60s (1965), but it was a good place to learn the game. You'd like to put something back and they were onto me to bring the Cup down and help out in training. I've never coached before in me life but I'll go in and give a hand out."

    Though his school team struggled, Toner's potential was obvious and, having featured representatively on underage teams, he was brought into the Leinster Academy while also cutting his teeth in the AIL with Lansdowne.

    He won his first Leinster cap with Jonathan Sexton off the bench against the (now defunct) Borders when he was still 19 but last season was his proper breakthrough.

    Injury to captain Leo Cullen granted Toner regular starts next to Malcolm O'Kelly and he put in a series of impressive displays before giving way to Cullen for the final rounds of Leinster's successful Heineken Cup run. Though second row is one of the greatest areas of competition in the Leinster squad, last season gave Toner a taste for more.

    "I have my work cut out for me this year. He (Cheika) told me I'm still going to get my share of games and that it's up to me then, he still has a lot of confidence in me, as he does in all the second-rows. And there's real quality in that area between Leo, Mal (O'Kelly), Nathan (Hines) and Trevor Hogan.

    "You can see the competition in training, we're not beating the heads of each other but there's definitely an edge. You're doing line-outs against these guys and there's no way you're going to let them get your ball."

    His former mentor has no doubt that Toner has the potential to make it at the highest level.

    "Devin's a top man," says Quinn, who now coaches Lansdowne U-20s. "He had all the armoury and the right attitude. With his height obviously the line-out was going to be a big part of his game but he was good around the park as well. His work-rate was always excellent during matches and in training.

    "There's a lot of competition at Leinster but he has talent and time on his side. The way it is these days, squads are changed around and Devin will get plenty of game time and I think he'll push through."

    Engaging

    Toner makes for easy-going and engaging company but when you follow up on a colleague's suggestion to ask him about his Grade 8 piano-playing (high enough to give lessons), he groans wearily.

    "This came out when I was in Irish Schools and it's hounded me since. Even when we were over in Nice on pre-season, there was a supporters club thing going on and they were all: 'Ah Devin, give us a tune,' like I was Liberace or something.

    "It's nothing, I just played a bit in school and got to a high enough level but I haven't played it in about five years. But it keeps coming up, I mean there was one Irish U-21 game where I gave a flick-up out of the tackle or something and one of the papers was on about 'gold-dust in his fingers'."

    Ivory-tinkling aside, Toner does have the ball skills and all-round game to become a force at the highest level. And, beneath the laid-back exterior, there is drive and determination.

    "I'm not going to look too far ahead but my main goal is to nail down a position with Leinster. I want to be first-choice lock to be honest and if something happens with Ireland, something happens."

    As Toner makes his way from the Donnybrook cafe, the daintily-formed waitress throws him a startled look as the light is temporarily blocked out. The door closes behind him and she comes over to clear the table.

    "Wow," she says, "he's fierce tall isn't he?"

    - Hugh Farrelly[/b]
    and some underage representative news from the last day or two:

    QUOTE
    http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/domestic/3830.php

    The Leinster Under-20's and Youths teams are in action in Donnybrook on Friday and Saturday... The Leinster Under-20 team to face Connacht in Donnybrook on Friday evening (KO: 7.30pm) has been named.

    LEINSTER UNDER-20:

    15: Andrew Conway (Blackrock College), 14: Chris Lilly (St. Mary's College), 13: Brendan Macken (Blackrock College), 12: David Lynch (UCD), 11: Darren Hudson (St. Mary's College), 10: Noel Reid (UCD), 9: John Cooney (UCD); 1: Jack O'Connell (Lansdowne) CAPTAIN, 2: Risteard Byrne (UCD), 3: Martin Moore (Lansdowne), 4: Ronan Lennon (St. Mary's College), 5: Ben Marshall (UCD), 6: Jordi Murphy (Blackrock College), 7: Robin O'Sullivan (Bective Rangers), 8: Richard Bent (UCD)

    REPLACEMENTS:

    16: Patrick Kilcoyne (Blackrock College), 17: Chris O'Brien (tbc), 18: Cathal Deans (Terenure College), 19: Rhys Ruddock (UCD), 20: Brian Kingston (Blackrock College), 21: Gavin Nyawata (Old Belvedere), 22: Calum Rowden (Ulster University)

    Meanwhile, the Leinster Youths (Under-18) team, sponsored by Nivea for Men, to face Munster Youths in Donnybrook on Saturday (KO: 12.45pm) has been named.

    LEINSTER YOUTHS:

    15: Michael Sherlock (Skerries), 14: Kevin McGrath (Skerries), 13: Daniel Pimm (Enniscorthy), 12: Thomas Daly (Co. Carlow), 11: Finn Greene (Greystones), 10: Robert Campbell (Naas), 9: Robert Holt (Edenderry) CAPTAIN; 1. Tadgh Furlong (New Ross), 2: Chris Tonge (Skerries), 3: Eoin Griffin (Naas), 4: Daniel Mannion (Wicklow), 5: Alan O'Connor (Skerries), 6: Tom McQuirk (Barnhall), 7: Barry Murphy (Skerries), 8: Conor Ryan (Navan)

    REPLACEMENTS: 16: Kieron Sutherland (Wexford Wanderers), 17: Jason Byrne (Wicklow), 18: Richard Cronin (Naas), 19: Eoin Masterson (Portlaoise), 20: Akhlaque Khan (Navan), 21: Eoin Stynes (Co. Carlow), 22: Andrew Robert (Greystones)[/b]
    QUOTE
    http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/domestic/3817.php

    The Leinster Schools (Under-18) team defeated their Connacht counterparts 15-0 in Dubarry Park on Wednesday afternoon... Full-back Ross Jones slotted home a first half penalty to give the visitors a 3-0 half-time lead before Castleknock College prop Peter Reilly scored two second half tries Ė on 46 and 61 minutes Ė with Jones converting after a superb backline move, to give the Under-18's a deserved 15-0 victory.

    *The Leinster Schools (Under-18) face Ulster next Wednesday, September 30th in Malone RFC (KO: 1pm)

    LEINSTER SCHOOLS (UNDER-18):

    15: Ross Jones (Castleknock College), 14: Mark Roche (Blackrock College), 13: Stephen Macauley (Clongowes Wood College SJ), 12. James Kearnes (CBC Monkstown), 11: Sam Coghlan Murray (Newbridge College), 10: Cathal Marsh (St. Michael's College) / Peter Lydon (Kilkenny College), 61, 9. Marcus Walsh (Blackrock College); 1: Des Merrey (The King's Hospital) / Jake Cawley (St. Andrew's College), 46, 2: David Hogan (Blackrock College) / Tom Austin (Castleknock College), 36, 3: Peter Reilly (Castleknock College) 4: Liam Curran (St. Mary's College) CAPTAIN, 5. Jack Conan (St. Gerard's School), 6: Michael Oyuga (Belvedere College SJ) / Brian Moylett (Cistercian College Roscrea), 43, 7: Brian du Toit (The King's Hospital), 8: Adam Clarkin (Terenure College)

    REPLACEMENTS NOT USED: Cormac Maguire (Blackrock College), Ian Burke (De la Salle Churchtown), Conor Finn (Cistercian College Roscrea)[/b]
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  3. #2
    An Tarbh
    Guest
    Has Noel Reid bulked up, cause he looked way too scrawny at schoolboy level when I saw him last.

  4. #3
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    QUOTE (An Tarbh @ Sep 24 2009, 06:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Has Noel Reid bulked up, cause he looked way too scrawny at schoolboy level when I saw him last.[/b]
    I'm not too sure. Apparently he's in the Leinster sub academy (I've no link to back this up mind). If that's the case, I assume he's on some sort of weights program. I remember him as a schools player; he flitted between wing in 4th year, fullback in 5th year and flyhalf in 6th year. He looked a talented player, albeit very sleight, at that stage. What I was impressed with was his willingness to attack the line and also his goalkicking. For Leinster U20s he's played at 12 and has been at 10 last time out and for the upcoming game.

    Of those underage teams, I don't know much about the youths but have heard in dispatches that Tadhg Furlong is quite talented. The u18s have a fair few good players. The centre Macauley was part of a superb Clongowes junior side and has been touted as one to watch for quite a while. Sam Coghlan Murray started for the Ireland u18 team last season and is a stunning finisher.

  5. #4
    monkeypigeon
    Guest
    Hey guys! guess what!!! James Jones is reffing your Brive match! Happy birthday!!! Poor sods

    And Romain Poite for the London Irish match. Dunno much about him.

  6. #5
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    QUOTE (Monkeypigeon @ Sep 24 2009, 07:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Hey guys! guess what!!! James Jones is reffing your Brive match! Happy birthday!!! Poor sods

    And Romain Poite for the London Irish match. Dunno much about him.[/b]
    I try not to blame referees whenever a team I support loses because more often than not it smacks of sour grapes. Is it okay if I criticise Jones in advance though? He and Peter Fitzgibbon are f'n awful.

  7. #6
    An Tarbh
    Guest
    maybe I'm clutching at straws here but I think Jones has improved. I've seen Poite do a few Challenge Cup games and he doesn't seem to have done too badly. Still though you'd hope as defending champions to get a better class of ref!

  8. #7
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    More silverware.....

    QUOTE
    http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/domestic/3830.php

    The Leinster Under-20's retained the Interprovincial title with a fine 25-12 victory over Connacht at Donnybrook on Friday evening...Youths team news... Leinster scored three tries in all through Brendan Macken, UCD centre David Lynch and impressive number eight Richard Bent. The hosts dominated for large periods of the game and had out-half Noel Reid to thank for some assured place-kicking as he added two penalties to two conversions.

    Connacht scrum-half Adam Kennedy replied with four penalties, which kept the visitors within touch for long periods.

    However skipper Jack O'Connell led from the front in an excellent forward effort and Richie Murphy's side were good value for their win.

    LEINSTER: A Conway; C Lilly, B Macken, D Lynch, D Hudson; N Reid, J Cooney; J O’Connell, R Byrne, M Moore (A Lyons 66), R Lennon, B Marshall, C O’Brien (R Ruddock 50), J Murphy, R Bent

    CONNACHT: P Finn; T O’Halloran, E Griffin, F Gormley, C Conroy; C Murphy (M Dolan 66), A Kennedy; D Buckley, K Egan, J Robinson, S Casey, C Raftery (R Keirns 60), A Spring, R Cunningham, A Spring, S Conneely

    REFEREE: T Collins (IRFU)[/b]
    That's a very good Connacht team they beat. Tiernan O'Halloran, Eoin Griffin and Aaron Spring have bags of talent.

  9. #8
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    From the Leinster Website:

    QUOTE
    The Leinster Schools (Under-18) team to play Ulster Schools on Wednesday, 30th September at Malone RFC (KO: 1pm) has been named... LEINSTER SCHOOLS:

    15: Ross Jones (Castleknock College), 14: Mark Roche (Blackrock College), 13: Stephen Macauley (Clongowes Wood College SJ), 12: James Kearnes (CBC Monkstown) 11. Sam Coghlan Murray (Newbridge College), 10: Cathal Marsh (St. Michaelís College), 9: Luke McGrath (St. Michaelís College); 1: Des Merrey (The Kingís Hospital), 2: Tom Austin (Castleknock College), 3. Peter Reilly (Castleknock College) 4: Liam Curran (St. Maryís College) CAPTAIN, 5. Jack Conan (St. Gerardís School), 6: Michael Oyuga (Belvedere College SJ), 7: Brian du Toit (The Kingís Hospital), 8: Adam Clarkin (Terenure College)

    REPLACEMENTS: 16: David Hogan (Blackrock College), 17: Jake Cawley (St. Andrewís College) 18: Cormac Maguire (Blackrock College) 19: Brian Moylett (Cistercian College Roscrea), 20: Marcus Walsh (Blackrock College) 21: Peter Lydon (Kilkenny College), 22: Conor Finn (Cistercian College Roscrea)[/b]
    14 schools represented among the 22. Breakdown is:

    Castleknock 3
    Blackrock 1 + 3 subs
    Clongowes 1
    Monkstown 1
    Newbridge 1
    St Michael's 2
    KH 2
    Mary's 1
    Gerard's 1
    Belvedere 1
    Terenure 1
    Andrew's 0 + 1 sub
    Roscrea 0 + 2 subs
    Kilkenny 0 + 1 sub

    That's an unusually large representation from KH and Castleknock and an unusually small number from Blackrock.

    Another result:
    QUOTE
    Meanwhile, the Leinster Youths (Under-18) team, sponsored by Nivea for Men, defeated Munster Youths 36-0 in Donnybrook on Saturday afternoon.

    Wicklow second row Daniel Mannion got the hosts off to an excellent start with a try after five minutes, before Skerries full-back Michael Sherlock bagged the first of two tries on 21 and 28 minutes, the first being a superb individual effort, both converted by Robert Holt to give Leinster a 19-0 half time lead.

    In the 49th minute hooker Chris Tonge got on the scoresheet with a try and five minutes later Tom McQuirk touched down, with Holt adding the points, before a 62nd minute try from Greystones winger Finn Greene capped off proceedings.

    LEINSTER YOUTHS:

    15: Michael Sherlock (Skerries), 14: Kevin McGrath (Skerries) / Eoin Stynes (Co. Carlow) 21, 13: Daniel Pimm (Enniscorthy), 12: Thomas Daly (Co. Carlow), 11: Finn Greene (Greystones) / Andrew Robert (Greystones) 60, 10: Robert Campbell (Naas), 9: Robert Holt (Edenderry) CAPTAIN; 1. Tadgh Furlong (New Ross), 2: Chris Tonge (Skerries) / Jason Byrne (Wicklow), 54, 3: Eoin Griffin (Naas) / Kieron Sutherland (Wexford Wanderers) 40, 4: Daniel Mannion (Wicklow) / Richard Cronin (Naas) 54 , 5: Alan O'Connor (Skerries), 6: Tom McQuirk (Barnhall) / Akhlaque Khan (Navan) 60, 7: Barry Murphy (Skerries), 8: Conor Ryan (Navan) / Eoin Masterson (Portlaoise)[/b]

  10. #9
    stevemagoo
    Guest
    Leinster schools rugby is beginning to level out in terms of stand-out performance teams. Yes, Blackrock, Belvo, Clongowes are still up there, but the much smaller teams like Gonzaga, KH, Andrews are producing more top level players as the years go on. The Leinster Senior Squad had 2 Gonzaga players involved against ...Keving McLaughlin who was playing blindside and Dominic Ryan who was splinter picking...That equals what was there in the previous 5 years!

  11. #10
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    QUOTE (stevemagoo @ Sep 29 2009, 11:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Leinster schools rugby is beginning to level out in terms of stand-out performance teams. Yes, Blackrock, Belvo, Clongowes are still up there, but the much smaller teams like Gonzaga, KH, Andrews are producing more top level players as the years go on. The Leinster Senior Squad had 2 Gonzaga players involved against ...Keving McLaughlin who was playing blindside and Dominic Ryan who was splinter picking...That equals what was there in the previous 5 years![/b]
    I think it's always been the case that lesser schools (in terms of winning cups) have produced some big time players. For example, Nick Popplewell and Eric Miller went to Wesley. From yesteryear, John Robbie was a standout from High School. Mal O'Kelly went to Templeogue. Reggie Corrigan is a past pupil of Pres Bray. I do agree though that pupils of smaller schools getting representative honours is becoming more frequent.

    The Leinster U19's schools team to play the Nordies has been named:
    QUOTE
    LEINSTER SCHOOLS UNDER-19:

    15: Eoin Moriarity (St. Maryís College), 14: Caolann Fitzpatrick (Blackrock College), 13: Maurice Walsh (St. Maryís College), 12: Alex Kelly (St. Michaelís College), 11: Donal Murray (Belvedere College), 10: David Godfrey (Blackrock College), 9: Niall Casey (Terenure College); 1. James Tracy (Newbridge College), 2: Paddy Carroll (Blackrock College), 3: Conor Duffy (Belvedere College SJ), 4: Jack Kelly (Blackrock College), 5: Robert Hynes (Clongowes Wood College SJ), 6: Emmet MacMahon (St. Michaelís College) CAPTAIN, 7: Mark McGroarty (Gonzaga College SJ), 8: Eoin Joyce (Terenure College)

    REPLACEMENTS: 16: Conor Thompson (Newbridge College), 17: Ronan Banahan (CBC Monkstown), 18: Adam Howard (CBC Monkstown), 19: Conor Gilsenan (Clongowes Wood College SJ), 20: James Hart (Belvedere College SJ), 21: Josh Glynn (St. Gerardís), 22: Jody Crosbie (St. Gerardís)[/b]
    Mary's - 2
    Blackrock - 4
    Michael's - 2
    Belvedere - 2 + 1 sub
    Terenure - 2
    Newbridge - 1 + 1 sub
    Clongowes - 1 + 1 sub
    Gonzaga - 1
    Monkstown - 0 + 2 subs
    Gerard's - 0 + 2 subs

    Again, that's a pretty wide spread of players from different schools. 10 schools in total are represented. Conor Gilsenan who's on the bench was marked out as a huge talent a couple of years ago. He's a goal kicking 2nd row/backrow. The centre Kelly and prop Tracy are two very good players.

  12. #11
    An Tarbh
    Guest
    I read an article by Thornley where he had interviews with various people within the Leinster setup, and they were telling him that they've been spreading their scouting net much further throughout the province so as to not let the jems slip through the net, O'Brien from Tullow being one that springs to mind.

  13. #12
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    I think this is the article you speak of:
    QUOTE
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/...4254384688.html

    LEINSTER ACADEMY:
    GERRY THORNLEY looks on as fledgling professionals are put through well-drilled paces in preparation for possible life at the top level with the provinceIT'S TUESDAY, late morning in Donnybrook on one of those pristine, manicured pitches synonymous with September. The forwards have come from the back pitch to join the backs. Michael Cheika is overseeing a fairly full-on, 15 v 15 session with rolling subs as both coach and referee.

    A first year Academy graduate squares up to one of Leinster's established Test players and Heineken Cup winner for his use of the boot on Trevor Hogan for lying on the wrong side of the ball. Cheika steps in, issues a few words and calls a halt to proceedings.

    Not the least misplaced perception of the academies is they rarely train with the professionals, and when they do, they become glorified tackle bag holders. As was abundantly evident here, that isn't the case.

    Leinster Academy manager Colin McEntee credits this greater interaction to Cheika, who himself reckons this year's crop is the best in his five years at Leinster. This is just as well, as the Irish provinces rely on home-grown talent more than their counterparts, especially in France and England.

    Ten of Leinster's Heineken Cup winning team, and 14 of the 22 on duty against Leicester at Murrayfield, were products of the National or Leinster academies - the IRFU's National Academy having been de-centralised into four provincial units in 2004.

    Twenty of this season's contracted squad came through the Leinster/Irish academy pathway, and that doesn't include their ex-Munster recruits.

    The 10-week pre-season and September, before college starts, are the academies' time of bounty.

    "Pre-season is the time when you can maximise development, and there's no game or external distractions," says McEntee, "so they train full-time for eight to 10 weeks."

    The players arrive at about 7am most mornings in the David Lloyd Centre in Riverview. There's also a new, purpose-built gym at the end of the Old Wesley clubhouse in Donnybrook - the walls are decorated with noted Academy graduates - for those in the sub-Academy underage system, and there aspiring Academy players are monitored by Dave Fagan, full-time age grade manager, and Sammy Dowling, age grade fitness coach.

    From Monday to Friday, the Academy players mix "prehab" - functional exercises to work on core fitness, such as back, shoulder or leg stablisation or other functional movements - speed sessions, weights or skills, and "individual priorities", where, for example, a player might require work in specific areas to improve functionality, or if they've imbalances in terms of flexibility or range of movement. It could also be rugby priorities such as kicking, tackling or whatever.

    On Thursday afternoon, 10 players were in the gym, while seven others trained with the Leinster first-team. Daniel Tobin, the Academy's full-time fitness and conditioning coach who came from the Dublin GAA team, singles out prop Dominic Ryan's marks but also says that thanks to the improved under-age screening and conditioning from 15 or 16 up, this year's crop are the best conditioned of any in the five years he's been with the academy.

    Tobin admits things will become "messy" when the college timetables kick in, and though McEntee agrees, he believes third-level education is vital.

    "We have to help provide the players with a holistic system, and if they are stimulating their minds it will help them in the process of making decisions on the pitch."

    Leinster provided 15 of the original 26-man squad for the Junior (Under-20) World Cup in Japan last June, including the newly acquired Ruddock brothers. The Academy operates on a one-year rollover basis, with a maximum of three years.

    Many are stand-out performers for their school sides, and come into the Academy having represented Leinster and Ireland at under-age level. Many more are spotted, coached, conditioned and monitored, inching towards the Academy through a Talent Identification Player programme.

    To illustrate the point, McEntee borrows pen and pad to draw a graph of the data-based feeder system used by Leinster, from under-16 through 18s, 19s and 20s, with the schools and youths/club ladder running in tandem.

    McEntee agrees with his trusted right-hand man, Richie Murphy, they have tabs pretty much on everybody within the province at under-age level, and little, if any, real talent will miss the net. The CDOs, coaching development officers, are their eyes and ears on the ground, casting their nets across all the province's 12 counties, and coaching coaches as well as players.

    "But, if you ask me in two years' time, we'll probably have moved on as well. Am I happy? Relatively. Can we improve? Absolutely. And I think that is the key," says McEntee.

    When McEntee first came into the system as a CDO (then known as RDOs, regional development officers) about 10 years ago, each had their areas and pathways, "but we probably didn't specialise, and we definitely didn't have the added resources," he admits.

    The CDOs also have more of a hands-on role within the under-age system and hence the Academy can inter-react with them more meaningfully than would have been the case.

    "I'd also add that I think our relationship with the stakeholders (clubs and schools) is key. The work they do is fundamental. We're only as good as what they do and by having a good relationship with them it takes the strain off the resources.

    "Aside from the seven CDOs, we have a lot of coaches out there whom we speak to regularly; some within the Leinster system and some not."

    When the National Academy was initially established under Stephen Aboud in the early 90s, McEntee himself was a second year product of that.

    Aboud worked wonders (Anthony Foley and Jeremy Davidson were products of the first year, with Malcolm O'Kelly, Kieron Dawson and Conor McGuinness all in the second year alongside McEntee), considering the dozen to 15 chosen met periodically - a fortnight or so in the summer, mid-term breaks, Christmas and Easter - for intensive testing and training.

    "There was support and resources, but your daily programme was run by yourself," recalls McEntee. "It gives you a great insight. If you look at that programme, it was very successful. Why was it successful? Because if guys didn't do the work they were gone. Simple as."

    Now, every session, both on the pitch and the gym, is monitored. External professionals come in to give talks, and nutritional advice, physiotherapy and coaching is now all full-time. Regionalising the academies also aligns them directly to each province's professional set-up.

    The elite schools are still the core suppliers, especially Blackrock and their production line of backs, but the clubs play their part too and the net is being cast wider - with gems popping up in previously uncharted territory, Tullow's SeŠn O'Brien being a case in point.

    But McEntee maintains you can never dwell on the successes. "It's getting more and more competitive, and challenging, and you can't stand still. And that's probably player-driven as well, because if the quality rises and the standards rise at the top of the game, underneath has to rise too to breach the gap. And that's the challenge.

    "I don't dislike my job at all and the nature of the job is such that if I didn't like it I wouldn't do it because of the commitment, time and effort you have to put in."

    McEntee acknowledges Leinster are enjoying a very good cycle right now, and while he believes in the programme and the people he has around him, not all Academy members will make the pro ranks.

    It irks McEntee that there's a perception out there that the Academy players are constrained from playing for their clubs. In welcoming the British and Irish Cup, which will give his Leinster A side a competitive and more streamlined structure, he points out that this will only clash with the AIB Cup, and that the players will be available for the AIL.

    He also stresses the Leinster As, who he coaches, will delve into the club game as well which, he argues, should excite leading club players in giving them a clearer avenue toward Leinster.

    The conception that Leinster have a high turnover rate, with casualties galore annoys him even more, to the point he walks out of the Riverview weights room vowing to obtain "some stats for you" and returns with his pc.

    There it all is in colour code - every player signed to the Leinster academy since it was formed in 2004. With an average of 18 or 19 per year, only 11 players have been released or completed their three-year cycle without obtaining professional contracts, while another four have opted to move on to other things.

    All told, 33 players who have passed through the academy in the last four years (including Luke Fitzgerald, who pretty much skipped straight into a pro contract on leaving school) went into the professional ranks, and of those 27 are still in contract.

    This includes 10 players based in the other provinces or abroad, but most are in Leinster. Even Toulouse, who have the lowest number of foreign players in the over-loaded French Top 14, would struggle to compete with that.

    And while the Academy route is not the only way to the professional ranks, it certainly gives them every chance.

    Leinster Academy 2009-2010

    Jack McGrath

    First year, 20, prop.

    Hopes are high for the highly-regarded St Mary's tighthead, who was involved in every game in the Under-20 World Cup in Japan on both sides of the scrum. Can help fill a bare looking cupboard.

    Tom Sexton

    First year, 20, hooker.

    Belvedere College hooker, dogged at close quarters and extremely good line-out thrower.

    Stuart Maguire

    First year, 19, prop.

    Welsh under-18 tighthead whose dad is Irish and hence arrived from Newport three weeks ago. Not many Irish tightheads weigh in at 128kgs!

    Mark Flanagan

    First year, 20, lock.

    Product of St Finian's, Mullingar, and youths/club system, 6ft 7in UCD lock has played nine times for Ireland under-20s.

    Kieran Ruddock

    First year, 20, lock.

    Son of ex-Leinster coach Mike and elder brother of Rhys; born in Ireland but came through Welsh system before declaring for Ireland prior to Junior World Cup. Has joined UCD.

    Eoin Sheriff

    Second year, 21, lock/backrow. From Gorey and youths scene initially, younger brother of Rory went to Blackrock for last school year on scholarship and now plays with Lansdowne.

    Paul Ryan

    Second year, 21, openside.

    Another Blackrock College product, who gives 100 per cent at everything and if he doesn't make the pro ranks it won't be through lack of effort.

    Rhys Ruddock

    First year, 19, blindside flanker. Tough blindside flanker and prized acquisition. Like his brother, featured with Wales Under-16s, Ireland Under-20s at World Cup in Japan, where he sat his A levels, and is now studying commerce and playing at UCD.

    Dominic Ryan

    First year, 19, backrow.

    Big, physical backrow product of Gonzaga, now with Lansdowne, also played in Under-20 World Cup and has already caught eye of Leinster players. Immensely strong, physical player made for the new laws.

    Dave Moore

    Second year, 21, scrumhalf.

    Slick-passing, nippy product of Blackrock with a strong work ethic and good break who has had some Leinster game time this season.

    Ian McKinley

    Second year, 19, outhalf.

    Currently injured, but an exceptional product of St Columba's now with UCD, with a cultured left boot. Made Magners League debut in the final game of last season.

    Ian Madigan

    First year, 20, outhalf/fullback

    Another Blackrock product who underwent shoulder operation post Under-20 World Cup and won't be back for three or four months.

    Kyle Tonetti

    Third year, 22, outhalf/centre

    St Gerard's College product, now with Blackrock, on fringes of Leinster first-team squad last season. Strong, physical with excellent skills set.

    Eamonn Sheridan

    Second year, 20, centre.

    Navan boy who came through the club/youths system and Ireland Under-20s. 6ft 4in inside centre in mould of Jamie Roberts.

    Currently sidelined with groin problem.

    Brendan Macken

    First year, 18, centre

    Star of the Blackrock and Ireland schools teams last season and straight into Academy. Quick, strong, good feet and vision.

    Michael Keating

    First year, 20, wing.

    Belvedere star who broke into Clontarf's team last season. Strong, quick, good feet, will get bigger, stronger and faster.

    Shane Monahan

    Third year, 22, wing.

    Product of Boyne and the Leinster youths, now with Blackrock; strong, physical, direct, good finisher and offloader in tackler.

    Andrew Conway

    First year, 18, fullback.

    Star turn for Blackrock last year, straight into academy; great footwork and out-and-out finisher who scored six tries in two pre-season games for Leinster Under-20s.

    Dave Kearney

    Second year, 20, wing/fullback Brother of Rob, similarly strong in air, athletic and big boot. After rapid improvement in last six months and storming Under-20 World Cup, he's already being promoted to a development contract this season.[/b]
    It's a very good read if you're a rugby geek like me! Thornley did a similar piece on the Munster academy. It was interesting to note the difference between the two provinces approaches. Leinster aim to get all the best players in regardless of position whereas Munster target problem areas and recruit depending on their needs. I'd like to see a similar study done on Ulster's approach.





  14. #13
    MunsterMan
    Guest
    Munster's make depressing reading tbh. They seem to think they have a master plan, "quality over quantity" looks like a dig at Leinster, who are miles ahead when it comes to both.
    QUOTE
    ďWe actually have room for 21 but Munster have never had more than 15 in its academy."[/b]
    Inexcusable IMO, you have the f***ing resources, use them!

  15. #14
    munstermuffin
    Guest
    QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Sep 29 2009, 08:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    I think this is the article you speak of:
    QUOTE
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/...4254384688.html

    LEINSTER ACADEMY:
    GERRY THORNLEY looks on as fledgling professionals are put through well-drilled paces in preparation for possible life at the top level with the provinceIT'S TUESDAY, late morning in Donnybrook on one of those pristine, manicured pitches synonymous with September. The forwards have come from the back pitch to join the backs. Michael Cheika is overseeing a fairly full-on, 15 v 15 session with rolling subs as both coach and referee.

    A first year Academy graduate squares up to one of Leinster's established Test players and Heineken Cup winner for his use of the boot on Trevor Hogan for lying on the wrong side of the ball. Cheika steps in, issues a few words and calls a halt to proceedings.

    Not the least misplaced perception of the academies is they rarely train with the professionals, and when they do, they become glorified tackle bag holders. As was abundantly evident here, that isn't the case.

    Leinster Academy manager Colin McEntee credits this greater interaction to Cheika, who himself reckons this year's crop is the best in his five years at Leinster. This is just as well, as the Irish provinces rely on home-grown talent more than their counterparts, especially in France and England.

    Ten of Leinster's Heineken Cup winning team, and 14 of the 22 on duty against Leicester at Murrayfield, were products of the National or Leinster academies - the IRFU's National Academy having been de-centralised into four provincial units in 2004.

    Twenty of this season's contracted squad came through the Leinster/Irish academy pathway, and that doesn't include their ex-Munster recruits.

    The 10-week pre-season and September, before college starts, are the academies' time of bounty.

    "Pre-season is the time when you can maximise development, and there's no game or external distractions," says McEntee, "so they train full-time for eight to 10 weeks."

    The players arrive at about 7am most mornings in the David Lloyd Centre in Riverview. There's also a new, purpose-built gym at the end of the Old Wesley clubhouse in Donnybrook - the walls are decorated with noted Academy graduates - for those in the sub-Academy underage system, and there aspiring Academy players are monitored by Dave Fagan, full-time age grade manager, and Sammy Dowling, age grade fitness coach.

    From Monday to Friday, the Academy players mix "prehab" - functional exercises to work on core fitness, such as back, shoulder or leg stablisation or other functional movements - speed sessions, weights or skills, and "individual priorities", where, for example, a player might require work in specific areas to improve functionality, or if they've imbalances in terms of flexibility or range of movement. It could also be rugby priorities such as kicking, tackling or whatever.

    On Thursday afternoon, 10 players were in the gym, while seven others trained with the Leinster first-team. Daniel Tobin, the Academy's full-time fitness and conditioning coach who came from the Dublin GAA team, singles out prop Dominic Ryan's marks but also says that thanks to the improved under-age screening and conditioning from 15 or 16 up, this year's crop are the best conditioned of any in the five years he's been with the academy.

    Tobin admits things will become "messy" when the college timetables kick in, and though McEntee agrees, he believes third-level education is vital.

    "We have to help provide the players with a holistic system, and if they are stimulating their minds it will help them in the process of making decisions on the pitch."

    Leinster provided 15 of the original 26-man squad for the Junior (Under-20) World Cup in Japan last June, including the newly acquired Ruddock brothers. The Academy operates on a one-year rollover basis, with a maximum of three years.

    Many are stand-out performers for their school sides, and come into the Academy having represented Leinster and Ireland at under-age level. Many more are spotted, coached, conditioned and monitored, inching towards the Academy through a Talent Identification Player programme.

    To illustrate the point, McEntee borrows pen and pad to draw a graph of the data-based feeder system used by Leinster, from under-16 through 18s, 19s and 20s, with the schools and youths/club ladder running in tandem.

    McEntee agrees with his trusted right-hand man, Richie Murphy, they have tabs pretty much on everybody within the province at under-age level, and little, if any, real talent will miss the net. The CDOs, coaching development officers, are their eyes and ears on the ground, casting their nets across all the province's 12 counties, and coaching coaches as well as players.

    "But, if you ask me in two years' time, we'll probably have moved on as well. Am I happy? Relatively. Can we improve? Absolutely. And I think that is the key," says McEntee.

    When McEntee first came into the system as a CDO (then known as RDOs, regional development officers) about 10 years ago, each had their areas and pathways, "but we probably didn't specialise, and we definitely didn't have the added resources," he admits.

    The CDOs also have more of a hands-on role within the under-age system and hence the Academy can inter-react with them more meaningfully than would have been the case.

    "I'd also add that I think our relationship with the stakeholders (clubs and schools) is key. The work they do is fundamental. We're only as good as what they do and by having a good relationship with them it takes the strain off the resources.

    "Aside from the seven CDOs, we have a lot of coaches out there whom we speak to regularly; some within the Leinster system and some not."

    When the National Academy was initially established under Stephen Aboud in the early 90s, McEntee himself was a second year product of that.

    Aboud worked wonders (Anthony Foley and Jeremy Davidson were products of the first year, with Malcolm O'Kelly, Kieron Dawson and Conor McGuinness all in the second year alongside McEntee), considering the dozen to 15 chosen met periodically - a fortnight or so in the summer, mid-term breaks, Christmas and Easter - for intensive testing and training.

    "There was support and resources, but your daily programme was run by yourself," recalls McEntee. "It gives you a great insight. If you look at that programme, it was very successful. Why was it successful? Because if guys didn't do the work they were gone. Simple as."

    Now, every session, both on the pitch and the gym, is monitored. External professionals come in to give talks, and nutritional advice, physiotherapy and coaching is now all full-time. Regionalising the academies also aligns them directly to each province's professional set-up.

    The elite schools are still the core suppliers, especially Blackrock and their production line of backs, but the clubs play their part too and the net is being cast wider - with gems popping up in previously uncharted territory, Tullow's SeŠn O'Brien being a case in point.

    But McEntee maintains you can never dwell on the successes. "It's getting more and more competitive, and challenging, and you can't stand still. And that's probably player-driven as well, because if the quality rises and the standards rise at the top of the game, underneath has to rise too to breach the gap. And that's the challenge.

    "I don't dislike my job at all and the nature of the job is such that if I didn't like it I wouldn't do it because of the commitment, time and effort you have to put in."

    McEntee acknowledges Leinster are enjoying a very good cycle right now, and while he believes in the programme and the people he has around him, not all Academy members will make the pro ranks.

    It irks McEntee that there's a perception out there that the Academy players are constrained from playing for their clubs. In welcoming the British and Irish Cup, which will give his Leinster A side a competitive and more streamlined structure, he points out that this will only clash with the AIB Cup, and that the players will be available for the AIL.

    He also stresses the Leinster As, who he coaches, will delve into the club game as well which, he argues, should excite leading club players in giving them a clearer avenue toward Leinster.

    The conception that Leinster have a high turnover rate, with casualties galore annoys him even more, to the point he walks out of the Riverview weights room vowing to obtain "some stats for you" and returns with his pc.

    There it all is in colour code - every player signed to the Leinster academy since it was formed in 2004. With an average of 18 or 19 per year, only 11 players have been released or completed their three-year cycle without obtaining professional contracts, while another four have opted to move on to other things.

    All told, 33 players who have passed through the academy in the last four years (including Luke Fitzgerald, who pretty much skipped straight into a pro contract on leaving school) went into the professional ranks, and of those 27 are still in contract.

    This includes 10 players based in the other provinces or abroad, but most are in Leinster. Even Toulouse, who have the lowest number of foreign players in the over-loaded French Top 14, would struggle to compete with that.

    And while the Academy route is not the only way to the professional ranks, it certainly gives them every chance.

    Leinster Academy 2009-2010

    Jack McGrath

    First year, 20, prop.

    Hopes are high for the highly-regarded St Mary's tighthead, who was involved in every game in the Under-20 World Cup in Japan on both sides of the scrum. Can help fill a bare looking cupboard.

    Tom Sexton

    First year, 20, hooker.

    Belvedere College hooker, dogged at close quarters and extremely good line-out thrower.

    Stuart Maguire

    First year, 19, prop.

    Welsh under-18 tighthead whose dad is Irish and hence arrived from Newport three weeks ago. Not many Irish tightheads weigh in at 128kgs!

    Mark Flanagan

    First year, 20, lock.

    Product of St Finian's, Mullingar, and youths/club system, 6ft 7in UCD lock has played nine times for Ireland under-20s.

    Kieran Ruddock

    First year, 20, lock.

    Son of ex-Leinster coach Mike and elder brother of Rhys; born in Ireland but came through Welsh system before declaring for Ireland prior to Junior World Cup. Has joined UCD.

    Eoin Sheriff

    Second year, 21, lock/backrow. From Gorey and youths scene initially, younger brother of Rory went to Blackrock for last school year on scholarship and now plays with Lansdowne.

    Paul Ryan

    Second year, 21, openside.

    Another Blackrock College product, who gives 100 per cent at everything and if he doesn't make the pro ranks it won't be through lack of effort.

    Rhys Ruddock

    First year, 19, blindside flanker. Tough blindside flanker and prized acquisition. Like his brother, featured with Wales Under-16s, Ireland Under-20s at World Cup in Japan, where he sat his A levels, and is now studying commerce and playing at UCD.

    Dominic Ryan

    First year, 19, backrow.

    Big, physical backrow product of Gonzaga, now with Lansdowne, also played in Under-20 World Cup and has already caught eye of Leinster players. Immensely strong, physical player made for the new laws.

    Dave Moore

    Second year, 21, scrumhalf.

    Slick-passing, nippy product of Blackrock with a strong work ethic and good break who has had some Leinster game time this season.

    Ian McKinley

    Second year, 19, outhalf.

    Currently injured, but an exceptional product of St Columba's now with UCD, with a cultured left boot. Made Magners League debut in the final game of last season.

    Ian Madigan

    First year, 20, outhalf/fullback

    Another Blackrock product who underwent shoulder operation post Under-20 World Cup and won't be back for three or four months.

    Kyle Tonetti

    Third year, 22, outhalf/centre

    St Gerard's College product, now with Blackrock, on fringes of Leinster first-team squad last season. Strong, physical with excellent skills set.

    Eamonn Sheridan

    Second year, 20, centre.

    Navan boy who came through the club/youths system and Ireland Under-20s. 6ft 4in inside centre in mould of Jamie Roberts.

    Currently sidelined with groin problem.

    Brendan Macken

    First year, 18, centre

    Star of the Blackrock and Ireland schools teams last season and straight into Academy. Quick, strong, good feet and vision.

    Michael Keating

    First year, 20, wing.

    Belvedere star who broke into Clontarf's team last season. Strong, quick, good feet, will get bigger, stronger and faster.

    Shane Monahan

    Third year, 22, wing.

    Product of Boyne and the Leinster youths, now with Blackrock; strong, physical, direct, good finisher and offloader in tackler.

    Andrew Conway

    First year, 18, fullback.

    Star turn for Blackrock last year, straight into academy; great footwork and out-and-out finisher who scored six tries in two pre-season games for Leinster Under-20s.

    Dave Kearney

    Second year, 20, wing/fullback Brother of Rob, similarly strong in air, athletic and big boot. After rapid improvement in last six months and storming Under-20 World Cup, he's already being promoted to a development contract this season.[/b]
    It's a very good read if you're a rugby geek like me! Thornley did a similar piece on the Munster academy. It was interesting to note the difference between the two provinces approaches. Leinster aim to get all the best players in regardless of position whereas Munster target problem areas and recruit depending on their needs. I'd like to see a similar study done on Ulster's approach.
    [/b][/quote]
    Exactly Munster go for Quality over Quantity which isn't great as there is room for more in academy but also as you don't know if a guy who is average coming in might respond brilliantly to better coaching and develope into a world-class player like Leinster in fairness have a development-model to be proud of.

  16. #15
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    I could be wrong but my hunch tells me Munster have gone for a quick fix of Doug Howlett and Jean De Villiers over increasing the strength of their academy in the short term. Howlett and De Villiers will help fill Thomond Park and the revenue that brings will increase the depth in the academy.

    I have to say, I like Leinster's approach. Picking the best players regardless of position can only boost the depth in the squad. More competition for places drives players to perform better or else they'll be shipped out the door.

    More underage success:

    QUOTE
    Three Leinster Schools side were in Interprovincial action on Wednesday and all of the teams were successful against Ulster and Munster...The Leinster Schools 'A' team enjoyed a resounding 35-3 victory Munster in Donnybrook. The Under-19's defeated Ulster 40-0 in Malone RFC, with the Under-18's Schools enjoying a fine 34-11 over their Ulster counterparts in the second game of Wednesday's double-header in Malone. LEINSTER SCHOOLS 'A':

    Sam Crowe (Newpark), Ger Hegarty (St. Paul's), James Kelly (Newpark), Simon Breen (Abbey CC), Ray Hurley (St. Brendan's), Liam Burke (St. Patrick's Classical School), Fergus Halpin (Newpark); Andrew Keating (St. Patrick's Classical School), Dean Lynch (Mount Temple) CAPTAIN, Aubrey Marshall (Newpark), Nils Sundermann (Newpark), Shane Brennan (St. Kieran's Kilkenny), Alex Cherry (St. Columba's), Zac Jungman (Newpark), Barry Stuart (Wilson's Hospital)

    REPLACEMENTS: Dalton Tice (St. Columba's), Sean Reynolds (Newpark), Ian Farrell (Wilson's Hospital), Jasper Pickersgill (St. Columba's), Niall O'Keefe (Mount Temple), Liam Gaffney (East Glendalough), Daire Dalton (St. Patrick's Classical School)

    LEINSTER SCHOOLS UNDER-19:

    15: Eoin Moriarity (St. Maryís College), 14: Caolann Fitzpatrick (Blackrock College), 13: Maurice Walsh (St. Maryís College), 12: Alex Kelly (St. Michaelís College), 11: Donal Murray (Belvedere College), 10: David Godfrey (Blackrock College), 9: Niall Casey (Terenure College); 1. James Tracy (Newbridge College), 2: Paddy Carroll (Blackrock College), 3: Conor Duffy (Belvedere College SJ), 4: Jack Kelly (Blackrock College), 5: Robert Hynes (Clongowes Wood College SJ), 6: Emmet MacMahon (St. Michaelís College) CAPTAIN, 7: Mark McGroarty (Gonzaga College SJ), 8: Eoin Joyce (Terenure College)

    REPLACEMENTS: 16: Conor Thompson (Newbridge College), 17: Ronan Banahan (CBC Monkstown), 18: Adam Howard (CBC Monkstown), 19: Conor Gilsenan (Clongowes Wood College SJ), 20: James Hart (Belvedere College SJ), 21: Josh Glynn (St. Gerardís), 22: Jody Crosbie (St. Gerardís)

    LEINSTER SCHOOLS (UNDER-18):

    15: Ross Jones (Castleknock College), 14: Mark Roche (Blackrock College), 13: Stephen Macauley (Clongowes Wood College SJ), 12: James Kearnes (CBC Monkstown) 11. Sam Coghlan Murray (Newbridge College), 10: Cathal Marsh (St. Michaelís College), 9: Luke McGrath (St. Michaelís College); 1: Des Merrey (The Kingís Hospital), 2: Tom Austin (Castleknock College), 3. Peter Reilly (Castleknock College) 4: Liam Curran (St. Maryís College) CAPTAIN, 5. Jack Conan (St. Gerardís School), 6: Michael Oyuga (Belvedere College SJ), 7: Brian du Toit (The Kingís Hospital), 8: Adam Clarkin (Terenure College)

    REPLACEMENTS: 16: David Hogan (Blackrock College), 17: Jake Cawley (St. Andrewís College) 18: Cormac Maguire (Blackrock College) 19: Brian Moylett (Cistercian College Roscrea), 20: Marcus Walsh (Blackrock College) 21: Peter Lydon (Kilkenny College), 22: Conor Finn (Cistercian College Roscrea)[/b]
    Jaspar Pickersgill is the greatest name I've ever heard!

    Those are three massive victories.

  17. #16
    shazbooger
    Guest
    Oh, and a great thred Snoopy. Appreciate all the updates. Keep them coming if and when you can.

  18. #17
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    It's no problem at all, I intend to keep it coming.

    Leinster have no match reports for these games on their website but I've managed to pull a couple of reports from the Ulster official website:
    QUOTE
    http://www.ulsterrugby.com/branch/10734.php

    Reports from Wednesday's U18 and U19 Northern Bank Ulster Schools' v Leinster Schools' Inter-pro matches The Northern Bank Ulster Schools' U18 and 19 teams were in a positive mood after their good performances against Munster Schools in Cork earlier in the season.

    Under 18 Schools' Report:

    The U18 team played their Leinster rivals in the 1-00pm kick off at Malone RFC. It was the Ulster team that looked the most likely to score in the opening exchanges and, indeed, took the lead with a Patrick Jackson penalty after 4 minutes of play. Ulster held the territorial domination and good Leinster defence, mixed with poor Ulster decision making, stopped them from scoring tries to extend their lead. On a rare excursion into the Ulster half the Leinster full back, Ross ones had an opportunity to level the scores when he missed a penalty attempt after ten minutes play. Ross eventually did even the scores when he converted a penalty following an Ulster infringement after 22 minutes.

    Ulster responded immediately with good work from their elusive full back Charlie Simpson putting his team into good positions. Following an intensive period of pressure on the Leinster defence, Ulster got the penalty decision from the referee. Patrick Jackson converted to put his team into a 6-3 lead.

    Ulster had a glorious chance to score a try when the impressive RS Dungannon centre, Peter Nelson, made a telling break from deep inside his own half. Leinster wing, Sam Coughlin-Murray, saved the day for the visitors with a telling cover defence tackle just prior to the half time whistle, leaving Ulster Schools' U18 6-3 ahead at half time.

    The second half belonged to Leinster! Ross Jones levelled the scores just after the restart with a well struck penalty. 2 minutes later Leinster centre, Stephen Mc Cauley, scorched his way through a hesitant home defence to touch down for a try. Ross Jones converted to put his team into a 13-6 lead for the first time in the game. 2 minutes later Leinster struck again, this time through their other centre, James Kearnes, who scored a try. Ross Jones duly added the extras and Leinster were now in a comfortable 20-6 lead.

    5 minutes later the visitors extended their lead with a well constructed, poorly defended try when their lively scrum half, Luke Mc Grath touched down Ross Jones converted to give his team a 27-6 lead.

    The Ulster team made liberal use of their substitutes and scrum half, Harry Doyle, added a lively dimension to his team's performance. He coaxed and encouraged his team on and was not afraid to ask questions of the Leinster defence. Eventually, after 20 minutes of the 2nd half, the Northern Bank Ulster Schools U18 team worked their way into the opposition 5 metre area. This provided Ulster winger, Rory Scholes, to work his way over the Leinster line for a try. Patrick Jackson was just short with his conversion attempt, taking the score to 27-11 in favour of Leinster.

    The Ulster team tried hard to reduce the deficit but it was the Leinster team that had the final say. Their eloquent full back, Ross Jones, touched down for a try in the last minute of play. He was just short with his conversion but his team had come through the encounter with a 32-11 victory, one that they fully deserved. This was the first game the Ulster Schools' U18 team had lost in four outings.

    Under 19 Schools' Report:

    The Northern Bank Ulster Schools' U19 team was hopeful of a good performance after their very narrow defeat against Munster in Cork. Their Leinster rivals were playing their first game in the Inter Provincial series with Connacht Schools' U19s having withdrawn from the scheduled fixture in Athlone earlier in September.

    The Ulster team was at a disadvantage before the game even started with the loss of some 7 players to injury and illness in the run up to this game. Irish Schools' International players Conor Carey and Chris Colvin were among the players unavailable. To compound the Ulster problems, centre Stuart Mc Ilwaine, had to leave the field with mild concussion early in the game.

    The Ulster Schools' U19 team started strongly and put the visiting defence under pressure. Full back, Shandon Scott, had two opportunities in the opening 10 minutes to give Ulster a lead but he was wide with 2 penalty attempts.

    Leinster started to get some territorial advantage but it was 22 minutes before they were able to open their account. Leinster out half, David Godfrey was successful with a penalty attempt to put his team ahead. After this point of the game Leinster really never looked back.

    3 minutes later Leinster ran in their first try when Mark Mc Groarty ran in for the score. David Godfrey missed the conversion but made amends 8 minutes later when he kicked a penalty to give his team an 11-0 lead. The Ulster Schools' U19 team came back strongly to pressurise the Leinster defence. Andrew Magowan was short with a penalty attempt and the Leinster team took their 11-0 lead into half time.

    The Leinster team was dominant in the 2nd half. After 2 minutes of play 2nd Row Robert Hynes went over for an unconverted try. They added to their tally when James Hart touched down for a try which was converted by David Godfrey after 8 minutes.

    David Godfrey kicked another penalty after 17 minutes to put his team 26-0 ahead. The Leinster team was not finished yet. Adam Howard scored a try after 30 minutes which was converted by James Hart. 2 minutes later Caolann Fitzpatrick sprinted his way over the Ulster Schools' U19's line to score a try which James Hart converted. Leinster now had an unassailable 40-0 lead, a lead which they kept intact until the final whistle.
    [/b]

  19. #18
    shtove
    Guest
    QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Sep 28 2009, 01:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    14 schools represented among the 22. Breakdown is:

    Castleknock 3
    KH 2

    That's an unusually large representation from KH and Castleknock and an unusually small number from Blackrock.[/b]
    What are they putting in the water?

    Castleknock is a biggish school - bigger than Clongowes - but Kings Hos is tiny AFAIK.

    Someone said Leinster are casting the net wider. Is that good or bad?

  20. #19
    An Tarbh
    Guest
    QUOTE (shtove @ Oct 1 2009, 07:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Sep 28 2009, 01:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    14 schools represented among the 22. Breakdown is:

    Castleknock 3
    KH 2

    That's an unusually large representation from KH and Castleknock and an unusually small number from Blackrock.[/b]
    What are they putting in the water?

    Castleknock is a biggish school - bigger than Clongowes - but Kings Hos is tiny AFAIK.

    Someone said Leinster are casting the net wider. Is that good or bad?
    [/b][/quote]

    can only be a good thing, less chances of a gem slipping through the net.

  21. #20
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    Yeah, it's a very good thing that they're being more proactive in finding talent. Using Sean O'Brien as an example, 10 years ago he likely wouldn't have been discovered. The chances of that happening now are slim.

    Speaking of O'Brien, there was an interview with him in yesterday's Times.
    QUOTE
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/...4255524471.html

    LEINSTER'S EVANGELISING of the counties and hinterland outside of a small section of Dublin south continues to be reflected in this season's squad. The province has been enthusiastic in pushing the fact Leinster is much more an entity than Dublin city and have spent much time and money getting people on message with players also touring schools and clubs well outside traditional city strongholds. It seems fitting then the influx of country and farming stock has added its own character to the squad and arguably helped the province get to that position of European dominance that it had never before attained.

    Leinster broadening its brand appeal to all parts of the province has also given some food for thought about what effect and influences the mix of country and city back grounds has within any group of players.

    Fullback Rob Kearney and pack members SeŠn O'Brien, Trevor Hogan, John Fogarty, Stephen Keogh and Bernard Jackman have all come from farming back grounds. O'Brien, from Carlow, has been catching the eye for the last two seasons. When he travels back to Tullow, he gets the stick but times are changing, old flat-world opinions about Leinster "type" players are turning.

    "The crowd at home . . . obviously there's a few Munster supporters down there," says the bright 22-year-old flanker and a regular visitor to Tullow Mart. "But over the last couple of years they've kind of changed back. There is great support from home (for Leinster) but there are a lot of Munster supporters down there. Slowly but surely they're changing over but there's great banter always."

    Kearney and his younger brother, David, are from a farm in Carlingford, Co Louth, while Jackman's father, Nicholas, is a major figure in the cattle business around Wicklow and Carlow. Captain Leo Cullen, although a Blackrock College graduate, grew up near Newtown in rural Wicklow, while tighthead prop Mike Ross, who arrived to Leinster from Harlequins during the summer, grew up on a dairy farm near Fermoy, Co Cork.

    "I'm not really surprised because there are a lot of farmers down there," explains O'Brien.

    "A lot of people that are living down here have come from Munster, Munster their whole life, so it doesn't really surprise me that there are Munster fans down living in Leinster just like I'm sure there are Leinster fans living in Munster."

    O'Brien has set his sights on holding a regular place in the starting team. With the experience of Shane Jennings and Lion Jamie Heaslip, even without Rocky Elsom this season, there is a tight squeeze.

    The departure of blindside flanker Elsom to Australia has opened things up a little more for the Irish players but there are no certainties. If O'Brien was not as firmly grounded as he is, he could read coach Michael Cheika's decision to bring in Nathan Hines instead of an out-and-out world-class flanker as the coach giving a vote of approval to what he already has at his disposal. And that would be a fair assumption.

    "At the start of the season he (Cheika) spoke about it," says O'Brien. "There is good competition there at the moment. Kevin McLaughlin is playing well, Stephen Keogh, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip. We can all slot in there anywhere. It wasn't a bad thing Rocky leaving, I don't think myself. Obviously I was glad I'll probably get more opportunities this year and hopefully that will be the way it will go."

    To play in every Leinster match, or as many as possible, is the only goal at present. Thoughts of Declan Kidney calling him up to the Ireland squad are far from his day-to-day focus. But is it a consideration?

    "No. Nothing like that yet," he says. "I'll try to get on the weekend and play well and if something comes after that so be it."

    This could be a good week for O'Brien and some of his farm hands to show. Munster's arrival at the RDS with their own brand of strength sets up one of the set-piece matches of the season with little love lost when the whistle goes. Sadly we will miss the traditional spectacle of Felipe Contepomi and Ronan O'Gara telling each other what great players they are and sharing mutual, er, affection.

    Still the farming theme crosses borders. Denis Leamy of Cashel and John Hayes from Cappamore, Co Limerick, bring a brothy, natural strength to their games.

    Munster may never have had to prove anything to their fans about things such as broad appeal but the natural power of Hayes, particularly, has made him a regular with the Irish team. No doubt his farming genes helped there.

    "There's a load of (Leinster) lads in the squad from outside of Dublin now," says O'Brien.

    "It's good like that. There is a lot of country lads playing at the minute and kind of broadening the fan base out a little bit."

    O'Brien has scored three tries from 23 Leinster appearances and earned two Ireland A caps. He's on the Kidney radar alright and living proof the GAA don't sweep up all of the strong athletes outside the cities, a principal figure too in the greening of the Leinster brand.[/b]
    ...and another very similar interview in today's Examiner

    QUOTE
    http://www.breakingnews.ie/sport/?c=rugby&...jp=kfaucwcwojql

    IT REMAINS to be seen whether Sean O'Brien starts against Munster this Saturday but, either way, the young Leinster flanker has ample experience of being on the front line in this particular battle. O'Brien is from Carlow, one of those counties that hugs the border between the two provinces, where the sight of a Munster jersey is as much of an occurrence, if not more so, than that of its Leinster counterpart.

    An example of that split was evident next door in Mountrath, Co Laois last April when the sides were meeting in Croke Park. One petrol station flew a Leinster flag while its competitor 100 yards down the road flew several of the Munster persuasion.

    "There would be craic," said the Tullow man of the week that is in it. "The older crowd at home, there would obviously be a few Munster supporters down there, but over the last few years, they have kind of changed back.

    "There would be great support from home but there would be a few Munster supporters down there. Slowly but surely, they are changing over. There is always a bit of banter, especially when you meet lads at a game back home on a Sunday."

    Munster's popularity in that part of the country grew from a sense of identification rural people had with their country cousins rather than the city slickers but O'Brien is one of those in Dublin bringing about a change in that regard.

    Leinster have a number of players with farming backgrounds in their first-team squad: O'Brien, the Kearney brothers, Trevor Hogan, John Fogarty, Stephen Keogh and Bernard Jackman among them.

    That three of those named are from Munster is another reason why this derby's stereotypes are being dismantled. Tony McGahan, for instance, can call on Leinster natives Ian Dowling, Niall Ronan and Felix Jones.

    None of that will blunt passions or performances at the RDS this Saturday evening and, in a game jumping with juicy sub plots, O'Brien will be focused on that unfolding up front and in the back row in particular.

    Nick Williams finally delivered the sort of performance Munster knew he had in him last Sunday against the Dragons and it will be interesting to see if the Kiwi can challenge for the title of 'top import' which Rocky Elsom left behind him.

    "I thought he played well," said O'Brien. "The tries that he got were good tries but I thought the Dragons defence could have done a bit better. Something we'll have to watch this weekend.

    "They are all good players. You have Wallace and Leamy as well who are Irish internationals so they have quality throughout their back row."

    Even Brian O'Driscoll recognised that Elsom was the difference between Leinster winning last season's Heineken Cup and falling short yet again but Michael Cheika didn't replace the Australian over the summer.

    Instead, he opted to buttress other areas of the pack with the acquisitions of Nathan Hines and Mike Ross which has left the door open for O'Brien to build on what was his first season in the first-team squad last time around.

    "We spoke about it at the start of the season. There is good competition in the back row there now. Kevin McLaughlin is playing well, so is Stephen Keogh. Then there is myself and Jamie Heaslip.

    "We can all slot in there anyway so I don't think it was a big thing Rocky leaving. I'm glad I will probably get more opportunities this year. Hopefully that will be the way it goes."

    O'Brien has started three and appeared as a replacement in Leinster's opening four fixtures thus far and, though the province has won three and lost just one of those, they have dodged a few bullets along the way.

    Discipline has been a problem, particularly last weekend away to Edinburgh. Whether that is through fatigue, lack of concentration or something else, they can ill afford a repeat this time.

    "They are a top-class outfit with a kicker like O'Gara and if we give away penalties like we did last week, he will punish us so our discipline is going to have to be spot on. They will have opportunities to pin us back so that area has to be spot on."

    Otherwise, it could be a long week in Carlow.[/b]

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