Leahy to make Garryowen debut against Old Crescent

 

IRELAND A second row Shane Leahy will create his own piece of history on Saturday when he lines out with Garryowen in the Insurance Corporation All-Ireland League tie against neighbours Old Crescent at Rosbrien.

Having already played three matches for Lansdowne in Division One he will become the first man to play for two first division clubs in the league in the same season.

Leahy has moved to Limerick to take up a business appointment and is thus qualified to change clubs, but as the move had not taken place in the initial stages of the league, he was still a Lansdowne player and played for the club, who now top the division on points difference from St Mary's College, after the first three matches.

Lansdowne, in Leahy's absence, will have Stephen O'Connor in the second row to partner his brother Paul for their visit to the defending champions, Shannon, on Saturday. They will have Simon Cooney on the right wing for Michael Kearin who broke a leg in the last league match before Christmas.

Lansdowne also have their Interprovincial hooker Shane McDermott back after injury.

Shannon will be without right wing Billy O'Shea and utility forward Kieran Maher, both injured. Jason Hayes will play on the wing while John Hayes will continue to partner Mick Galwey in the second row. There is a change at scrum-half where Conor McDermott replaces Brian MacGoey.

Garryowen have not finalised their line up for their match at Old Crescent, but Leahy will be in the side. They have a doubt about the fitness of their captain Paul Hogan who has an ankle injury.

Old Crescent have also delayed selection, but will be without full back Brian Begley, who faces a protracted period out of the game because of a shoulder injury. They are awaiting a fitness report on second row Len Dinneen.

Both St Mary's College, and Cork Constitution, who meet at Temple Hill, have been unable to announce their teams. But St Mary's will definitely be without back row Frank Fitzgerald, who will be out of the game for about six weeks because of a medial ligament injury. They also await fitness reports on out-half Fergal Campion and hooker Barry Browne, like Fitzgerald and Campion injured in the win over Shannon. Scrum-half Owen McCormack and Craig Fitzpatrick are suffering from influenza. Cork Constitution have props Ian Murray and Paul MaCarthy under treatment and will be without Don Lynch who is not available.

Blackrock College have left a flank berth open for their tie against Young Munster at Stradbrook but it is unlikely that Dean Oswald will fill the berth. His return after injury may come next week. Shane Byrne returns at hooker. Young Munster have second row Mick O'Halloran and flanker Ger Earls back after missing the last league match because of influenza. They also welcome back scrum-half Derek Tobin, who has recovered from the virus that kept him out before Christmas.

Instonians have left a centre berth vacant until later in the week for their game against Ballymena at Shane Park. Ballymena have named Ireland wing James Topping at full back. Mark Beattie will be at scrum half. But Ballymena still have a long injury list. Hooker Stephen Ritchie is back in training and will sit on the bench. Sheldon Coulter, Colin Walker and Andy Robinson should all be back to fitness in about three weeks.

Old Belvedere will be unchanged for their visit to Terenure College, who have Peter Bruce back at prop. Dungannon have delayed selection of their side to meet Old Wesley but will be without Keith Walker, who will be out of action for about five weeks because of a groin injury that needed an operation.

Colin Younger returns in the centre for Old Wesley and Robert Casey goes to wing in place of Andrew Leeson. In the pack Greg Duffy is still an absentee but Mark Wilson is in the second row with Shane Gill reverting to number eight in place of Alistair Pim.