Energia Park will host another Club Series International decider this Friday as Ireland Club XV and Scotland Club XV (5.45pm) go head to head for the Dalriada Cup.
The Irish side are made up of the most exciting talent in the Energia All-Ireland League and nine players from four Dublin clubs are named in the match day squad.
The Irish won back the trophy in Donnybrook last year and the occasion on their home ground stoked a fire in Old Wesley trio Paul Derham, Conor Maguire and JJ O’Dea.
“It was one of my goals to make the clubs team,” says Derham. “I don’t actually know what I’d be doing if I didn’t play rugby. It’s effortless out there. You don’t have to think about anything else. You can set goals, get more out of yourself and get better.”
An obvious goal for the squad is to win both games in the series. Both Derham and Conor Maguire started in the away leg last Friday – a 39-17 win in Galashiels. They have been retained in the starting line-up while O’Dea is named as a reserve. It’s all about delivering a result in front of their own people this weekend.
“We’ve worked very hard as a team for the last year,” say Maguire. “For Old Wesley and our club coach Morgan Lennon especially, it would be a massive thing for us to represent Ireland at Energia Park.
“We want to play with the best of the best amateur rugby players in the country and to do it on our home pitch in front of club members, family and all the people that we respect.”
“It’s quite a special place to play,” says Paul Derham. “I’ve been to a lot of different clubs and you can just feel within the clubhouse that everyone gets behind each other.”
There are four Terenure College players in the squad including Michael Melia in the back-row and Matthew Byrne on the wing.
Colm Hogan of Dublin University is on the other wing while Gearoid Lyons of Clontarf is among the replacements.
In the first tie last Friday, Ireland post a record score, producing five tries with Bryan Fitzgerald opening the scoring just eight minutes in.
Derham broke the line before playing in Aran Hehir for try number two before the forwards took over for Conor Maguire’s try after 32 minutes.
Scotland fought back in the second half but late tries from Jamie Heuston and Matthew Byrne well clear.