SIX NATIONS: Ireland Under 20 debut for former City of Derry star

Joe Dunleavy playing for City of Derry against Old Crescent in 2017.
Joe Dunleavy playing for City of Derry against Old Crescent in 2017.

Former City of Derry back row, Joe Dunleavy will make his Ireland Under 20 debut in Friday night against Scotland in the final home game of the  U20 Six Nations Championship.

Head Coach Noel McNamara has made seven personnel, and one positional changes to the starting side from the last outing against Wales for the game which takes place in Donnybrook and will be televised live by RTE.

As well as Dunleavy, props James French and Tom O’Toole make their first starts of the championship, having both made three appearances as replacements, and they join hooker Ronan Kelleher in the front-row.

Matthew Dalton returns from a stint with the Ulster senior squad to replace the injured Cormac Daly (shoulder) and lines out with Jack Dunne in the second-row while Dunleavy lines up alongside Matthew Agnew and Jack O’Sullivan in the back row.

It has been a huge year for 19 year old Letterkenny native Dunleavy who in 2017 helped City of Derry retain their AIl Division 2B status with a late, final fixture try against Skerries before being named Ulster Bank League Provincial Player of the Year at an end of season ceremony attended by Ireland coach, Joe Schmidt.

Dunleavy joined up with the Ulster Academy setup last summer as well as making the move to Malone for the 2018 season. He previoulsy played at Ulster U16, U17, U18 and U19 level.

Dunleavy's rapid progress through the ranks saw him invited to play for Ulster A versus Leinster A in March 2017 when he lined out in an Ulster team that contained seasoned campaigners such as Louis Ludik, Stuart McCloskey, Ricky Lutton and Pete Browne.

"It’s set to be another good challenge for the players on Friday night," said Ireland under 20 coach McNamara.

"Everyone was disappointed with the result against Wales, so it’s an opportunity to finish our time in Donnybrook on a positive note. We’ve made some changes for Friday night and I know the management team are looking forward to seeing those players go out and show what they can do.

"Scotland will be arriving into Dublin off the back of a good win over England, so they will be full of confidence coming into the game. The games between ourselves and Scotland have been close affairs over the last few seasons, so we’re expecting another tough encounter this Friday night."

The Ireland U20’s home fixtures in Donnybrook are again sponsored by Electric Ireland, and the match will be broadcast live by RTE, with coverage beginning at 7pm.

Tickets are available via www.ticketmaster.ie

The Ireland U20 team to take on Scotland U20 (7.15pm) is

15. Michael Silvester (Dublin University FC/Leinster) (7)
14. Angus Kernohan (Ballymena RFC/Ulster) (3)
13. Tommy O’Brien (UCD RFC/Leinster) Captain (8)
12. Angus Curtis (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster) (3)
11. Mark Keane (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster) (2)
10. Harry Byrne (UCD RFC/Leinster) (3)
9. Hugh O’Sullivan (Clontarf FC/Leinster) (3)
1. James French (UCC RFC/Munster) (3)
2. Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne FC/ Leinster) (10)
3. Tom O’Toole (Banbridge RFC/Ulster) (3)
4. Matthew Dalton (Malone RFC/Ulster) (1)
5. Jack Dunne (Dublin University FC/Leinster) (3)
6. Joe Dunleavy (Malone RFC/Ulster) (0)
7. Matthew Agnew (Ballymena RFC/Ulster) (2)
8. Jack O’Sullivan (UCC RFC/Munster) (3)

Replacements:
16. AN Other
17. Jordan Duggan (Naas RFC/Leinster) (7)
18. Jack Aungier (St. Mary’s College RFC/Leinster) (3)
19. Charlie Ryan (UCD RFC/Leinster) (2)
20. Ronan Foley (UCD RFC/Leinster) (2)
21. Jonny Stewart (Queen’s University RFC/Ulster) (12)
22. Conor Dean (St.Mary’s College RFC/Leinster) (7)
23. James Hume (Banbridge RFC/Ulster) (1)