Sligo’s Cillian Gallagher to captain Irish U20s

Sligo’s Cillian Gallagher will captain the Ireland U20s in Friday’s Six Nations second round meeting with Italy at Stadio Enrico Chersoni in Prato at 7pm Irish time.

The flanker was vice-captain for last week’s defeat of Scotland and leads the side this weekend in the absence of injured full-back Jack Kelly.

The team shows four changes from the one that claimed a late win over their Scottish counterparts last Friday night.

Ireland U20 vs Italy U20, Stadio Enrico Chersoni, Prato, North Italy, 7.00pm (local time) / 6.00pm (Irish time)
15. Colm Hogan (Dublin University / Munster)
14. Jordan Larmour (St.Mary’s College / Leinster)
13. Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC / Leinster)
12. Ciaran Frawley (UCD RFC / Leinster)
11. Calvin Nash (Young Munster / Munster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (Ballynahinch / Ulster)
9. Johnny Stewart (Queen’s University / Ulster)
1. Joey Conway (UL Bohemians / Munster)
2. Tadgh McElroy (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
3. Charlie Connolly (Dublin University / Leinster)
4. Fineen Wycherley (Young Munster / Munster)
5. Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
6. Cillian Gallagher (Corinthians / Connacht) (Captain)
7. Paul Boyle (Lansdowne FC / Leinster)
8. Caelan Doris (St.Mary’s College / Leinster)
16. Adam Moloney (Shannon RFC / Munster)
17. Rory Mulvihill (UCD RFC / Leinster)
18. Matthew Burke (Corinthians / Connacht)
19. Jack Regan (UCD RFC / Leinster)
20. Gavin Coombes (Young Munster / Munster)
21. Jack Lyons (Young Munster / Munster)
22. Conor Fitzgerald (Shannon RFC / Munster)
23. Tommy O’Brien (UCD RFC / Leinster)

IRELAND U20 Six Nations Fixtures / Results
Friday 3rd February 2017
Scotland U20 19-20 Ireland U20, Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow

Friday 10th February 2017
Italy U20 v Ireland U20, 7pm (6pm GMT), Stadio Enrico Chersoni, Prato

Friday 24th February 2017
Ireland U20 v France U20, 8pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin

Saturday 11th March 2017
Wales U20 v Ireland U20, 6.30pm, Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, North Wales

Friday 17th March 2017
Ireland U20 v England U20, 8pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin


Meanwhile, Connacht have confirmed two-year contract extensions for senior players Dave Heffernan and James Cannon.

Mayo-born Heffernan has featured in every game for Connacht so far this season, bringing to 75 the total appearances for his home province. He made his senior debut against the Scarlets in March 2012 as a member of the Connacht Academy and shortly before he transitioned from the back row to hooker.  The 26-year-old Ballina-native, who has represented Ireland Under-20s and Emerging Ireland, has been a member of the Connacht senior squad since the beginning of the 2013/14 season.

Second row James Cannon has also agreed terms on a deal to stay at the Sportsground until at least the summer of 2019. Irish qualified through his paternal grandparents from Donegal, the English-born 28-year-old joined Connacht in September after six seasons with Premiership side Wasps. The six foot eight inch lock has played in nine games, starting seven, for Connacht this season.

Commenting on the latest deals, CEO Willie Ruane said:

“Dave and James signing on until 2019 is great news for Connacht Rugby and our supporters. Retention is a vital part of our success moving forward and we’ve been really happy with the number of senior players who have committed their future to the province in recent months.

Head Coach Pat Lam added:

“I have really enjoyed being witness to the phenomenal growth that Dave has made as a player and a person over the past four years in the senior set up. He is the consummate professional and I have no doubt that he will do everything possible when it comes to reaching the next level in his career and achieving great things.

“We’ve all been really impressed with the work that James has put in on and off the field since he arrived in September. It’s fantastic that he has enjoyed his first season here and sees the opportunity to grow as a player with Connacht.”