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Young guns aim to build on historic Baby Blacks victory

By Cian Tracey

After Ireland finally ended their hoodoo over New Zealand in November, it has almost become forgotten that five months before that famous victory in Chicago, the U-20s had created their own history by beating the Baby Blacks for the first time.

It was part of a run that saw Ireland make it all the way to the Junior World Cup decider.

Tomorrow evening, in Scotland, marks the beginning of a new chapter for the country's future stars as they begin their quest for Six Nations glory.

Cillian Gallagher was one of the standout performers last season and he is one of three players back again this year, two of whom start tomorrow - Gallagher and Ulster out-half Johnny McPhillips.

It's been a tough six months for Gallagher who required surgery after tearing ligaments in his shoulder in the pool win over Georgia.

Expectations are high again this year and Gallagher knows that there will be a greater focus on his side after that win over New Zealand.

"Last year showed what we can do as a country," said the Conacht forward. "At the start of the year, we weren't massively rated. We were written off after the first two games of the Six Nations. And then we had a good end to it."

Gallagher's long-term position is almost certainly going to be second-row but for now, at least, Nigel Carolan has selected him at blindside as he looks to beef up his pack.

The exciting Jack Kelly skippers the side from full-back while Gavin Mullin, son of former Ireland centre Brendan, starts in midfield.

Ireland U-20s (v Scotland): J Kelly (capt); J Larmour, G Mullin, C Frawley, C Hogan; J McPhillips, J Stewart; J Conway, T McElroy, P Cooper; F Wycherley, O Dowling; C Gallagher, P Boyle, C Doris. Reps: A Moloney, R Mulvihill, C Connolly, J Regan, M Rea, J Lyons, C Fitzgerald, T O'Brien.

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