ALL THINGS IRELAND: January 2012
IRELAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND FOR THE 1ST TIME 40-29 IN HISTORIC WIN IN CHICAGO...

Monday, January 30, 2012

IRELAND ANNOUNCE 6 NATIONS SQUAD

Ireland management have named a 32-man squad as preparations reach their final stages for the team's opening match of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations against Wales next Sunday.



The majority of the squad that trained in the Limerick camp last week have been retained.


There are call-ups for O2 Ireland Wolfhound players Denis Hurley, Dan Tuohy, Chris Henry and Rhys Ruddock, all of whom have been capped previously for Ireland.


David Kearney, Eoin O'Malley, Peter O'Mahony, Simon Zebo and Brett Wilkinson are the uncapped players who make the step up to train with the senior Ireland squad this week.


IRELAND Training Squad (v Wales, 2012 RBS 6 Nations):


Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)


Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)


Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)


Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)


Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)


Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)


Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)


Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)


Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster)


Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster)


Shane Jennings (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)


David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) *


Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)


Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)


Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)


Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)


Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster)


Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)


Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) *


Eoin O'Malley (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *


Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)


Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)


Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)


Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)


Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)


Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)


Brett Wilkinson (Galwegians/Connacht) *

Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) *




* Denotes uncapped player




Sunday, January 22, 2012

HEINEKEN CUP TIES ANNOUNCED

Munster will host Ulster and Leinster will host Cardiff Blues in the quarter-final round of the Heineken Cup.
Munster ended the pool stage as top seed, with Leinster finishing as second seed, guaranteeing both provinces home quarter-finals.

Ulster secured the second-best pool runners-up spot and qualified for the quarters as the last seed.


Munster will host their quarter-final at Thomond Park, Limerick, while Leinster will most likely play their last eight tie with Cardiff Blues at the Aviva Stadium.


Edinburgh host Toulouse and Saracens host Clermont Auvergne in the other quarter-finals.

The winner of the Munster/Ulster quarter-final has been drawn to have home advantage in the semi-finals against the winner of the Edinburgh v Toulouse quarter.

The winner of the Leinster/Cardiff Blues quarter-final has been drawn to play away to the winner of the Saracens/Clermont Auvergne quarter-final in the last four stage.

HEINEKEN CUP QUARTER-FINALS


HEINEKEN CUPHOME      AWAY                
1ST SEEDMUNSTERULSTER
2ND SEEDLEINSTERCARDIFF
3RD SEEDEDINBURGHTOULOUSE
4TH SEEDSARACENSCLERMONT AUVERGNE


(Ties to be played the weekend of 6/7/8 April)


HEINEKEN CUP SEMI-FINALS


Saracens/Clermont Auvergne v Leinster/Cardiff Blues


Munster/Ulster v Edinburgh/Toulouse

(Ties to be played the weekend of 28/29 April)





Saturday, January 21, 2012

CONNAUGHT DEFEAT HARLEQUINS

In a famous night for Connaught rugby, Eric Elwood's side claimed their first win in their maiden Heineken Cup adventure on Friday evening by 9 points to 8 at the Sportsground in Galway.
Three penalties from the boot of Niall O'Connor was enough to earn the Westerners their first win in 15 games this Season.

Harlequins could only muster a Sam Smith try early in the first-half and one penalty was all they could produce in the second period.

Conor O' Shea's Premiership side knew that a victory was a must in order to qualify for the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup but they came up short against a committed Connaught team who tackled with ferosity in numbers and finally gave their fans a win to cheer for on a wet and windy evening in Galway.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

IRISH RUGBY SQUADS ANNOUNCED



Head coach Declan Kidney has confirmed the squad for the upcoming RBS 6 Nations Championship which gets underway in a few weeks' time.


The Ireland team management have today announced two squads ahead of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations and the upcoming O2 Ireland Wolfhounds game against England Saxons.


There are 24 players named in the Ireland senior squad, with six additional up-and-coming players named who will join the first week of Ireland camp in Limerick to train with the squad.


The 22-man O2 Ireland Wolfhounds squad includes several uncapped players as well as full internationals. The Ireland squad, from which the team to play Wales will be selected, will be announced on Monday, January 30 after the Wolfhounds game against the England Saxons.


Commenting on the announcement, Ireland head coach Declan Kidney said: "The Wolfhounds game gives myself and the other coaches one final chance to give games to players to see possible options before we settle on our matchday 22 for the opening game of the Championship.
"It also gives us the opportunity to have a closer look in training at some of the younger players, rather than bringing in more experienced players, who are very much still in the frame for selection.
"There have been some strong performances by players with the provinces going really well. It always gives the squad a good boost when we have teams with players playing well in Europe before we step back up into the international scene."
Talking about the start of the RBS 6 Nations, Kidney added: "It's a new tournament for us and for everybody involved, so irrespective of the highs and lows of the World Cup, it is a fresh and exciting challenge for us.
"The tournament begins what is big year for us, with a three Test tour to New Zealand to come in June and ranking points all important for the Rugby World Cup in 2015, but the Six Nations always stands out as high point."






IRELAND Training Squad (2012 RBS 6 Nations):






Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)


Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)


Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)


Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster)


Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)


Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)


Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)


Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)


Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)


Shane Jennings (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)


Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)


Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)


Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)


Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)


Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster)


Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)


Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)


Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)


Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)


Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)


Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)






Additional Players -






Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution/Munster) *


Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) *


Tiernan O'Halloran (Galwegians/Connacht) *


Paddy McAllister (Ballynahinch/Ulster)*


Andrew Conway (Blackrock College/Leinster) *


Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) *






O2 IRELAND WOLFHOUNDS Squad (v England Saxons):






Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution/Munster) *


Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)


Gavin Duffy (Galwegians/Connacht)


Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)


Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster)


Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster)


David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) *


Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster)


Ronan Loughney (Galwegians/Connacht) *


Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) *


Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht)


Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht)


Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin/Munster)


Eoin O'Malley (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *


Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary's College/Leinster)


Mike Sherry (Garryowen/Munster) *


Nevin Spence (Ballynahinch/Ulster) *


Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)


Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)


Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster)


Brett Wilkinson (Galwegians/Connacht) *






Friday, January 13, 2012

IRELAND'S DARREN GIBSON SIGNS FOR EVERTON

Ireland's Darren Gibson has joined Everton from Man Utd on a four and a half year deal today.

The fee is believed to be only £500,000 which is very low even though the Derryman had failed to make the breakthrough at Utd.

"I realised the time had come for a change", said the midfielder.
"I want to get into the Ireland team for the Euro's so I need regular football, which I will get here at Everton".

On hearing the news Giovanni Trapattoni said simply: "At last!".

Hope it works out for Gibson at his new club and he begins to show his true potential.

Monday, January 2, 2012

CONNACHT 13-15 LEINSTER

Connacht let one slip at the Showgrounds last night as Isa Nacewa's 100% place-kicking return was the difference between the sides as Leinster squeezed past their provincial rivals Connacht in the RaboDirect PRO12.


Although Connacht had the better of a slow-burning first half, three penalties from man-of-the-match Nacewa nudged Leinster into a 9-3 lead at the break.
Connacht took advantage of sin-binnings for Isaac Boss and Leo Cullen as they created tries for Tiernan O'Halloran and South African Ethienne Reynecke.

But Matthew Jarvis and replacement Miah Nikora missed both conversions, with the latter also watching his last-gasp drop-goal fall under the crossbar in a dramatic finish.

Gunning for their first win in 12 outings, Connacht showed early signs of intent in front of a league-record crowd of 6,582 at the Sportsground.
The best move came when an in-form O'Halloran split open the Leinster defence on an eye-catching counter-attack.
Jarvis, a late inclusion in the starting line-up, missed his first shot at the posts in the sixth minute and was wayward from further out five minutes later.
But the young out-half was then successful with a 35-metre effort, punishing Leinster for bringing down a maul illegally.
Leinster were quick to respond, drawing a ruck infringement from John Muldoon which resulted in Nacewa slotting over his first penalty.
Another sweetly-struck kick into the wind from Nacewa, this time from 38 metres out, moved Joe Schmidt's men in front despite Connacht controlling much of the play.
Defences were on top in the period leading up to half-time and it took a muscular drive from Rhys Ruddock to tee up Nacewa's third penalty.
Backchat led to referee John Lacey moving the penalty into kickable range and the full-back managed to squeeze his attempt inside the left-hand post.
The Leinster pack built some momentum before the break, however an important steal by Ronan Loughney helped the home side clear the danger.
Connacht were back on the defensive in the early part of the second half, Nacewa maintaining his impressive form with a precise 49th-minute kick.
The arm wrestle up front continued, with a number of promising phases strangled into submission by the sheer force of the tackling.
The sin-binning of Boss for interfering with Frank Murphy's pass from a midfield ruck gave Connacht a chance to hit back - and they duly did with O'Halloran getting over.
A string of quick passes created the space on the right with Jarvis putting O'Halloran over just moments after fellow winger Brian Tuohy was stretchered off.
The try was unconverted though, and Nacewa soon struck his fifth penalty goal of the night to move the league leaders 15-8 clear.
But Connacht stuck doggedly to their task and with Cullen carded for taking out a lifter at a five-metre lineout, Reynecke charged over off a subsequent maul.
Nikora slipped as he tried to convert from a right-sided position and agonisingly the New Zealander had the accuracy but not the distance when attempting that drop-goal at the death.
So Connacht's woes continue, how they could have done with Ian Keatley's immaculate goal-kicking however, he is now doing it for Munster.
Still a good performances by the Westerners against the reigning Heineken Cup Champions.