We spoke to Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Manager Ian Costello last week for the first update of the new season from the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.
New recruits Fionn Gibbons, Darragh McSweeney, Evan O’Connell, Jack Oliver, Ruadhan Quinn and Kieran Ryan have all hit the ground running and seen game-time at various levels over the past number of weeks.
19-year-old second year Academy member and UCC clubman Edwin Edogbo made his senior debut against Dragons on Sunday becoming the first Cobh Pirates player to line out for Munster in the professional era. Edwin missed all of last year due to an achilles injury but impressed in pre-season and was rewarded with a debut in Wales.
Hear the latest from Costello below.
Munster A v Connacht A last week…
“It was a good run-out. They had played a game the week before and our game against Ulster had been cancelled so they were a bit more clinical.
“We dominated possession and territory but they were more accurate, we were a little bit rusty at key times but it was a good exercise overall.”
“Kieran Ryan and Darragh McSweeney, the two props, are getting on really well. Ruadhan Quinn obviously hit the ground running with 78 minutes against Gloucester in pre-season, which was great for him to get a senior run-out. Evan O’Connell was released back to the Munster U19s and he played the Interpros with them and they won two out of three.
“Jack Oliver played his first game for Munster in a long time against Connacht A and he had a club run-out with Garryowen the week before. It was his first time playing in seven months so it was great to have him back as well. Fionn Gibbons had his first run-out since joining us against Connacht too.”
Academy players Tony Butler, Edwin Edogbo, Cian Hurley, Daniel Okeke, Conor Phillips getting game-time in pre-season games…
“It’s fantastic. And to have so many players away with Emerging Ireland now, it gives our lads the chance to push for a squad spot in the URC for the next three games.
“We’ll be stretched a bit at senior level with the 10 guys selected for Emerging Ireland so we’d be hopeful there will be a couple of Academy players in the mix over the next couple of weeks and anyone who isn’t in the mix will be playing with their club.
“On the injury front, Patrick Campbell (toe) was injured with the Ireland U20s over the summer and he’s a couple of weeks away.
“Daniel Okeke tweaked his hamstring in the A game last weekend so hopefully he won’t be out for too long.”
AIL season kicking off this weekend…
“The players will all go back to their clubs this week and hopefully the majority of the lads will be playing in AIL round one, if they’re not involved in the URC.
“We have been drip-feeding the lads back with their clubs so a number of guys have been training with their clubs over the last few Tuesdays so we try to keep them connected to their club as much as possible.”
Summer training camps for underage sides…
“We had a residential camp in UL over the summer. We put a lot of time, effort and resources into a three-week residential camp. We brought 15 under-20 players to train with the U19s. The U20s don’t have an Interprovincial tournament so they’re essentially the guys we’re looking at to move onto the next level. Guys like Daniel Hurley trained with them, he’s back from a cruciate injury, Shay McCarthy who had gone away with the Ireland U20s…these are the kind of guys we’re looking at long-term as well.
“We brought that group of 15 to train with 30 U19s so that was class. Off the back of those training camps, the Munster U18s won the Interpros, the U19s won two out of three so there’s a lot of good players emerging out of that and it was good to validate it with winning an Interpro as well.”
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