IRELAND U20 HEAD coach Nigel Carolan has announced a 30-man squad ahead of the 2015 U20 Six Nations, including eight who played in last year’s tournament.
UCD centre Garry Ringrose, who was nominated for the IRB World Junior Player of the Year award in 2014, leads the returning group, with Harrison Brewer, Ross Byrne, Jack Cullen, Oisin Heffernan, Nick McCarthy, Sean McNulty and Rory Moloney all having featured last year.
Futhermore, squad members Billy Dardis, Ciaran Gaffney and Josh Murphy played in the 2014 Junior World Championship in New Zealand, meaning Carolan’s selection has an experienced feel to it.
UCD and Leinster scrum-half Nick McCarthy has been named as captain.
Among the new faces are Leinster Schools Senior Cup stars Fergal Cleary, Jeremy Lougman and Joey Carbery, while Ulster’s highly-promising backs Jacob Stockdale and Jack Owens are also included.
Connacht’s Cian Romaine, Stephen McVeigh and Conan O’Donnell have been picked, while Munster provide exciting fullback Stephen Fitzgerald, pacy wing Greg O’Shea, hooker Sean McNulty and returning scrum-half Cullen.
Scrum-half Nick McCarthy captains the Ireland squad. Source: Photosport/David Rowland/INPHO
Ireland open their Six Nations campaign against Italy in Piedmont, around two hours away from Milan, on 6 February. They play France at Dubarry Park on 13 February, before welcoming England to Donnybrook on 27 February.
Their closing two fixtures see them travel to Wales on 13 March and then Scotland on 20 March.
30-man Ireland squad for U20 Six Nations:
Props: Michael Lagan (Ballymena/Ulster), Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/Connacht), Oisin Heffernan (Terenure/Leinster)*, Jeremy Lougman (UCD/Leinster)
Hookers: Zac McCall (Queens University/Ulster), Sean McNulty (UCD/Munster)*
Locks: Jack Dwan (Leinster), Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster)*, David O’Connor (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Cian Romaine (Buccaneers/Connacht), Alexander Thompson (Queens University/Ulster)
Back rows: Lorcan Dow (Queens/Ulster), Stephen McVeigh (Buccaneers/Connacht), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht)*, Conor Oliver (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Half-backs: Jack Cullen (Shannon /Munster)*, Nicolas McCarthy (UCD/Leinster)*, Ross Byrne (UCD RFC/ Leinster)*, Joey Carbery (UCD/ Leinster)
Centres: Samuel Arnold (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Harrison Brewer (Terenure/ Leinster)*, Fergal Cleary (Lansdowne / Leinster), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)*, Jacob Stockdale (Queens University/Ulster)
Back threes: Billy Dardis (UCD/Leinster)*, Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon/ Munster), Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht)*, Greg O’Shea (Shannon/Munster), Jack Owens (Queens University/Ulster).
* denotes previous involvement at Ireland U20s level
Analysis: Matt O’Connor’s Leinster beginning to show true hand5 talking points before Joe Schmidt names his Six Nations squad