Balbriggan boss runs rule over interprovincial series

by Dave Donnelly
0 comment

Republic of Ireland Schools manager William O’Connor will run the rule over 64 players from all four provinces as he prepares to select his squad for the Centenary Shield next March.

The Balbriggan Community College supremo guided Ireland to the title in his first year in charge in 2018 with wins over Wales and Scotland and draws with England and Northern Ireland.

It was the first time Ireland had won the competition since 2015 and all eyes will be on O’Connor as he plots a path to replicating that success with a completely new squad.

November 9 will see the best that schools from Leinster, Munster, Ulster (three counties) and Connacht have to offer compete for the Interprovincial Trophy at the AUL Complex in Clonshaugh.

It’s the first step in the process to whittle down the selection to the 18-man squad that will face England and Wales at home, and Scotland and Northern Ireland away, in March and April.

Before that, O’Connor will select a side to host Australia in a friendly international in mid-January, a dress rehearsal for their opening trip to Scotland.

O’Connor, a woodwork teacher by trade, is also on the coaching ticket at Finn Harps, in his native Donegal, whom he helped back to the Premier Division with a play-off win last week.

Among the 16-strong panel selected by Leinster joint managers Ian Ryan, the UCD assistant coach, and Fintan Sheridan is Coláiste Choilm, Swords student Keith Carter.

The former Swords Manor and Belvedere defender was part of the St Patrick’s Athletic side that reached the semi-finals of the under-17 National League this season.

The Interprovincial series takes place over three days at the AUL’s facility in north Dublin, with two points awarded for a win and one for a draw.

Leinster clinched the Interprovincial title last year in nail-biting circumstances as they picked up the point they needed against the defending champions Ulster on the final day.

A 2-2 draw was enough to dash the Ulster side’s hope of a second title on the bounce, and ensured the honour remained with Leinster for a dominant 13th time in just 17 years.

Related Articles