Blackrock problems grow ever more acute


IT IS a measure of the continuing problems faced by Blackrock College that only one of their first choice back division of last season, scrum half Alain Rolland, is available for the All Ireland League.

Brendan Mullin has retired, Alan McGowan is ill, Nicky Assaf and Martin Ridge have left for Dungannon and Old Belvedere respectively, Niall Woods is preparing for exams and David Beggy is injured. And the problems grow more acute.

Wing Stephen Butler was injured a few weeks ago, and last Saturday full back Rory Kearns picked up an injury to keep him out for the rest of the season.

Selection of the team to meet Old Belvedere on Saturday has been delayed and the club has named a panel. Included is a man who first played for the club almost 20 years ago after he had been capped for Ireland at "schools level, Mark Keogh. Now on the wrong side of the mid thirties, Keogh, in a fruitful career, helped the club to success in the Leinster Senior Cup and League, but his activities in recent years have been confined to the junior sphere.

Back row Fergal O'Beirne, who has not been available in recent times as he was abroad, is also included in the panel.

Despite the defeat last week by Young Munster, St Mary's College have named an unchanged side for the match against Lansdowne at Templeville Road. Lansdowne will have international outside half Eric Elwood back after an ankle injury. With Brian Reddan unavailable as he is attending a family wedding, and Brian Glennon ruled out by a shoulder injury, Lansdowne have chosen Bobby Geraghty in the centre, with Peter Devcich again on the wing. Jim Sharkey returns to the back row.

Instonians face the league leaders Shannon at Shane Park and make one change from their last league outing Andrew Hewitt replaces Simon Burrows in the centre.

Second division leaders Old Crescent, already assured of promotion, travel to meet NIFC and they give some of their squad members the opportunity of a league outing. Leo Doyle and John Noonan are in the Shane McCarthy deputises Diarmuid Reddan at scrum Michael O'Meara is at hooker Mark Hayes, Gary Arden at for P J McLoughlin, John Forde in the second row for O'Sullivan, Tadgh O'Malley the back row for his Diarmuid, while Brian takes over from David Bowles.

Promotion contenders Terenure College will have their international full back Cia Clarke back in the side for the first time since he sustained knee injury playing for Leinster in the European Cup semi final for the visit of Dolphin. Joey Muldowney returns at outside half for Paul Hennebry and Niall Hogan resumes at scrum half after missing the last league" match, as he was playing in Hong Kong with the Ireland sevens team. James Blaney returns at hooker for David Crossan.

Wanderers have selected Philip Barlow at full back for the injured Jonathan Garth for the visit of Bective Rangers on Saturday. Former international Kelvin Leahy returns on the flank and Padraig McManus partners Jim O'Callaghan in the second row.