Dublin University Football Club’s (DUFC) Joe McCarthy and Max O’Reilly will be included in the Leinster Rugby academy for the upcoming season, the club has announced.
McCarthy and O’Reilly, along with the seven other newly selected players, played for the Irish under-20 squad in the 2020 Six Nations competition prior to its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. With two games left to play, Ireland had led the tournament with three wins from three.
O’Reilly scored a try for Ireland in the under-20s Six Nations game against England.
Last summer, O’Reilly was called in as a late addition to an injury-plagued under-20 Irish squad to compete in the Rugby World Cup in Argentina.
In a press statement, Leinster Academy Manager Noel McNamara praised the work ethic of the seven new additions, saying: “A lot of it is around that desire for work, it’s around recognising that they have to produce their best continuously. I think we’ve seen that from all seven of them to be honest, I’ve been very impressed with how they’ve gone about their business.”
McNamara further emphasised this achievement for the players, saying: “Today’s announcement is a hugely special moment for the players and the culmination of a lot of hard work over many years.”
“Of course, the reality is that the hard work is only beginning, but it is important to mark this achievement and for them and their clubs, schools, and families to take pride in what this next step means”, McNamara added.
Last month, Leinster also announced the promotion of five academy players, including DUFC’s Ryan Baird, to senior contracts.
“As with any year we are delighted to see a group of young men move on to Senior contracts and we wish those five players the very best of luck”, McNamara said.
The Irish Rugby Football Union recently announced a modified structure to the All Ireland League (AIL) with no official games to be played until January. The first half of the season will consist of a provincial community series that will determine which teams compete in the All-Ireland cup competition later in the year.
Prior to the cancellation of last season due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, DUFC stood second to last in the league table with four wins and 10 losses.