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David McCann named Ireland U20 captain as seven Ulster players included in Six Nations squad



The Celtic Cup, Ballymena RFC, Co. Antrim 6/9/2019
Ulster vs Connacht Eagles
Ulster's David McCann
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The Celtic Cup, Ballymena RFC, Co. Antrim 6/9/2019 Ulster vs Connacht Eagles Ulster's David McCann Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The Celtic Cup, Ballymena RFC, Co. Antrim 6/9/2019 Ulster vs Connacht Eagles Ulster's David McCann Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Ulster's David McCann has been named Ireland captain for the upcoming Under 20 Six Nations campaign.

The 19-year-old back row captained the nation's Under 19 squad last year and has now stepped up to lead the U20 side for this season's tournament as they look to back up last year's Grand Slam.

McCann is joined by six fellow Ulster players, with hooker Tom Stewart in the 37-man panel and backs Lewis Finlay, Conor McKee, Hayden Hyde, Ben Moxham and Ethan McIlroy also included.

Wing McIlroy, of course, made his senior debut for Ulster in Leinster before the turn of the year, while centre Hyde is included after making the move from Harlequins during the summer. He previously represented Ireland through the Exiles system and will have had an eye on the U20 Six Nations panel since his transfer.

Also named in the squad is Campbell College's 2018 Schools' Cup winning captain John McKee, who now represents Leinster.

"It’s always a very exciting time for these young players when the Six Nations comes around," coach Noel McNamara said. "We have been working through the selection process since last year, which has culminated in today’s 37-man squad announcement.

"It was a tough selection and there are a number of players who are unlucky to miss out. It’s important to note at this stage that selection will be ongoing and players from outside this group will have further opportunities to impress throughout the season."

Having enjoyed huge success in front of sold-out crowds at Irish Independent Park last year, the Cork venue will again play host to the Ireland Under-20 home games, and the visit of Scotland on the opening night, Friday January 31, is followed by a clash against Wales on Friday February 7.

After a down week, McNamara’s side are on the road to face England at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday, February 21 and then it’s back to Irish Independent Park in round four for a meeting with Italy on Friday, March 6.

Ireland will conclude their campaign against France at the Stade Aime Giral in Perpignan on Friday, March 13 (kick-off 8pm).

On returning to Irish Independent Park, McNamara continued: "Everyone is hugely enthusiastic about getting back down to our home in Irish Independent Park in Cork. We we will have three tough games there this year against Scotland, Wales and Italy under lights on Friday nights. I have absolutely no doubt about the raucous reception that awaits our team and our opponents."

Tickets for the Ireland Under-20 home fixtures in Irish Independent Park are available from Ticketmaster.

Ireland Under-20 2020 Six Nations Squad

Forwards (20)

Charlie Ward (Tullow RFC / Clontarf FC / Leinster)

Marcus Hannan (Clane RFC / Old Belvedere RFC / Leinster)

Harry Noonan (Greystones RFC / Old Wesley RFC / Leinster)

Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy / Ballynahinch RFC / Ulster)

John McKee (Campbell College / Old Belvedere / Leinster)

Bobby Sheehan (Clongowes Wood College / UCD RFC / Leinster)

Thomas Clarkson (Blackrock College / Dublin University FC / Leinster)

Ryan McMahon (Clongowes Wood College / Old Belvedere RFC / Leinster)

Brian Deeny (Wexford Wanderers / Clontarf FC / Leinster)

Eoin O'Connor (Waterpark RFC / Young Munster RFC / Munster)

Thomas Ahern (Waterpark RFC / Shannon RFC / Munster)

Joe McCarthy (Blackrock College / Dublin University FC / Leinster)

Alex Soroka (Blackrock College / Dublin University FC / Leinster)

Cian Prendergast (Newbridge College / UCD RFC / Leinster)

Cian Hurley (CBC Cork / Garryowen FC / Munster)

Sean O'Brien (Blackrock College / UCD RFC / Leinster)

Mark Hernan (St Michael’s College / Lansdowne FC / Leinster)

Anthony Ryan (Clongowes Wood College / Dublin University FC / Leinster)

David McCann (RBAI / Banbridge RFC / Ulster)

Joshua Dunne (Denstone College / Galwegians RFC / Connacht)

Backs (17)

Lewis Finlay (Down High School / Malone RFC / Ulster)

Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray / Clontarf FC / Leinster)

Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School / Queens RFC / Ulster)

Jack Crowley (Bandon RFC / Cork Constitution FC / Munster)

Cathal Forde (Coláiste Iognáid / Corinthians RFC / Connacht)

Tim Corkery (Kilkenny RFC / Lansdowne FC / Leinster)

Andrew Smith (St Michael’s College / Clontarf FC / Leinster)

Niall Comerford (Blackrock College / UCD RFC / Leinster)

Ethan McIlroy (Methody College / Queens RFC / Ulster)

Diarmuid Kilgallen (Cistercian College Roscrea / Galwegians RFC / Connacht)

Hayden Hyde (Cranleigh School / Ballynahinch RFC / Ulster)

Ben Moxham (Ballymena RFC / Ballymena RFC / Ulster)

Harry O'Riordan (CBC Cork / UCC RFC / Munster)

Luis Faria (Newpark Comprehensive / Dublin University FC / Leinster)

Dan Kelly (Kirkham Grammar / Loughborogh University / IQ Rugby)

Oran McNulty (Millfield School / Corinthians RFC / Connacht)

Max O'Reilly (St Gerard’s / Dublin University FC / Leinster)

Ireland Under-20 2020 Six Nations Fixtures

Ireland v Scotland, Irish Independent Park, Friday, January 31 (7.15pm, RTÉ2)

Ireland v Wales, Irish Independent Park, Friday, February 7 (7.15pm, RTÉ2)

England v Ireland, Franklin’s Gardens, Friday, February 21 (7.45pm, Sky Sports)

Ireland v Italy, Irish Independent Park, Friday, March 6 (7.15pm, RTÉ2)

France v Ireland, Stade Aime Giral, Friday, March 13 (8pm).

Belfast Telegraph