Leinster has won ten out of the last eleven Interprovincial tournaments and, having completed the five-in-a-row last year in the Midlands, will be looking to emulate their success at the Clonshaugh venue.
The champions will kick-off their defence against Leinster on Friday afternoon at 4pm against Ulster with Munster facing Connacht in the other game at the same time. In keeping with the long standing tradition of maintaining the interest in the competition until the final matches on Sunday morning, the draw for Saturday and Sunday's matches will be made following the games on Friday evening.
While the battle for the Inter-provincial title will dominate proceedings over the weekend, it is also part of the international trial process and the 64 players involved will be looking to catch the eye of Ireland managers Ollie Horgan (St Eunan's College, Letterkenny) and Dave Archbold (Palmerstown Community School).
As part of the International trial process, a training squad will be selected by the Irish School's management team. This consists of Mr. Ollie Horgan (St. Eunan's College, Letterkenny) and Mr. Dave Archbold (Palmerstown Community School)
They will select provisional international training squad after the tournament which will take part in a major three day training session at the end of this month as well as numerous sessions early next year ahead of their first competitive game in the international series which is away to Northern Ireland on March 15 in Institute FC, Derry.
Leinster are the odds-on favourites to retain the Interprovincial title this weekend and it is a measure of the strength in depth of the champions that Leinster managers John McShane and Paddy O'Reilly have had a difficult task of reducing their panel to 16. Indeed, even though six of last year's panel were available for selection only Stephen McGuinness (ColĂˇiste Chroabh Abhainn, Kilcoole) and Alan Gannon (St. Joseph's Fairview) made the cut.
Their squad contains several players who have already caught the eye for club, country and school. Salesian College student, Dylan Kavanagh was part of the home based international selection that featured against Peterborough during the summer at the AUL Complex and much is expected of the St. Kevin's player. Kevin O'Connor, who studies at St. Peter's College in Wexford, also has some International experience having featured for the Republic of Ireland U17 squad last season, the only home-based player to do so.
Malahide Community School's Dylan Cashin picked up a Senior Division 1 Metropolitan title as well as being a Senior Cup All Ireland finalist last year and will be one to watch as will Palmerstown's Jamie Goonery. Clayton Stafford was one of the stars for Collinstown Park Community College last season when they captured the Leinster Champions League Senior and Junior Division 2 titles for the first time in the school's history.
Connacht were very close contenders last season and new manager Tom Byrne (St. Gerald's College) is striving to go one better at the weekend and take the title from the defending champions. Ger Bane will join Byrne at the helm in Connacht this season. The Westerners have five squad members making their second consecutive appearance in the tournament. They include Rice College pupil Conor O'Malley between the posts as well as his colleague Paraic Keane. Michael Casey (Summerhill College), Conor Byrne (St. Louis, Kiltimagh) and Jason Lyons (Colaiste Iognaid) will also be hoping to make the most of the experience gained last season.
Munster are the only other province to have won the Interprovincial title in the last 11 years, their victory coming in 2006 when Limerick last hosted the tournament. Preparations have been going well in the Munster camp with challenge matches against Cork City U19s, Waterford United U19s and UCC Senior team encompassing part of their build-up to the tournament.
Manager Derek O'Brien welcomes back Schools international Anthony O'Donnell (Carrigaline CS) and Gavin O'Donovan (De La Salle College, Waterford) from last year's squad but, unfortunately, due to club commitments with Waterford United, Jack Doherty (Comeragh College) will miss out as will Limerick FC's James McGrath. St. Aidan's CC student Darren Murphy is also out of the panel due to a long term injury from which he is taking longer than expected to recover from. The trio of absentees is a major blow to the Munster squad but O'Brien has plenty of confidence in his selection and knows that the 16 chosen will do the province proud.
O'Brien has a number of underage International players at his disposal including Darragh Corcoran (Carrigaline CS) and Anthony McAlevey (St. Aidan's CC) who were capped at U15 and U16 level for the Republic of Ireland. Alan Browne (Nagle CC) and Conor O'Driscoll (Schull CC) were part of Paul Doolin's U18 home-based squad that travelled to Wales last year. All four players are also part of the FAI Emerging Talent Programme. Waterford De La Salle pupil Dessie Hutchinson played in the home-based U17s international side this summer in a game against Peterborough FC and scored. Michael Sadys (Glanmire CC) and Nathan Murray (St. Flannan's College, Ennis) are the two goalkeepers selected and much is expected of both.
The Ulster Schools team will have a record number of players returning this year including keeper Seamus Houghton (Carndonagh CS), Peter Doherty (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Schools international Ferghal McMahon (St. Macartan's College), Dean McConnell (Deele College, Raphoe), Darragh O'Connor (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana) and Cathal McDaid (St. Eunan's College). Carr will be looking to his experienced players for their opening encounter against defending champions Leinster on Friday afternoon.
Letterkenny's St. Eunan's College captured two All Ireland Schools Cup titles last season with the boys winning the Junior (U17) and Minor (U15) titles and four of the players involved in those successes - Aiden Sweeney, Cathal McDaid, Christopher Flanagan and 'keeper Shaun Patton â€“ are included in the Ulster squad.
LEINSTER: Stephen McGuinness (Colaiste Chraobh Abhann, Kilcoole), Jamie Goonery (Palmerstown Community School), Steven Byrne (Clonkeen College, Blackrock), Kilian Cantwell (St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny), Conor Moore (Pobalscoil Iosolde), Kevin O'Connor (St. Peter's College, Wexford), Peter Hopkins (Larkin Community College), Cormac Breslin (Arklow CBS), Alan Gannon (St. Joseph's, Fairview), Clayton Stafford (Collinstown Park Community College), Dylan Kavanagh (Salesian College, Celbridge) Dylan Cashin (Malahide Community School), Colm Poole (Clonaslee College, Laois), Nika Arevadze (St. Kilian's DSD), Gregory Sloggett (St. Oliver's Community College, Drogheda), Andrew Murphy (Colaiste Chill Mhantain). Management: John McShane (Dublin Oak Academy, Bray), Paddy O'Reilly (Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun), Conor Foley (Athlone Community College), Ferdia McKeown (Physio)
MUNSTER: Nathan Murphy (St. Flannan's College, Ennis), Adam Thompson (Colaiste Mhuire, Cobh), Anthony O'Donnell (Carrigaline Community School), Gavin O'Donovan (De La Salle College), Patrick Fitzgerald (De La Salle College), Alan Browne (Nagle Community College), Conor O'Driscoll (Schull Community College), Darragh Rainsford (Colaiste Chiarain), Josh Aimiuhi (De La Salle College), Kynan Rocks (CBC), Joe Kennedy (Crescent College Comprehensive), Jamie Walsh (Youthreach Waterford), Dessie Hutchinson (De La Salle College), Anthony McAlevey (St. Aidan's Community College), Darragh Corcoran (Carrigaline Community School), Michael Sadys (Glanmire Community College). Management: Derek O'Brien (CBS Tramore), Conor Uhi (ColĂˇiste Mhuire, Cobh), Gary Power (FAI DO, Waterford)
ULSTER: Seamus Houghton (Carndonagh Community School), Pauric Patton (Cholaiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon), Kevin Loughran (St. Macartan's College, Monaghan), Peter Doherty (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Ferghal McMahon (St. Macartan's College, Monaghan), Aiden Sweeney (St. Eunan's College, Letterkenny), Dean McConnell (Deele College, Raphoe), Darach O'Connor (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Kyle Black (Loreto Community School, Milford), Darragh Black (Loreto Community School, Milford), Cathal McDaid (St. Eunan's College, Letterkenny), Johnny Coleman (Patrician High School, Carrickmacross), Georgie Kelly (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Christopher Flanaghan (St. Eunan's College, Letterkenny), Ryan Varma (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Shaun Patton (St. Eunan's College, Letterkenny). Management: Paddy Carr (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), Sean McFadden (Crana College), William O'Connor (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), John Kerr (Patrician High School, Carrickmacross).
CONNACHT: Conor O'Malley (Rice College, Westport), Andrew Peters (St. Colman's College, Claremorris), Michael Casey (Summerhill College, Sligo), Paraic Keane (Rice College), Alex Burns (Yeats College, Galway), Conor Byrne (St. Louis, Kiltimagh), Conor Barry (Portumna Community School), Colm Nevin (St. Gerald's College, Castlebar), Jason Lyons (Colaiste Iognaid, Galway), Joe Gaughan (Yeats College), Morgan Lyons (Ballyhaunis Community School), Richard Fahy (Presentation College, Headford), Jake Dykes (Summerhill College), Stephen Walsh (St. Gerald's College), Liam Flatley (Bella Secondary School, Mayo), Adam Murphy (St. Colman's College). Management: Tom Byrne (St. Gerald's College), Ger Bane (Moneenageisha Secondary School, Galway)
(All games at the AUL Complex, Dublin)
Friday, October 5
4.00pm: Leinster v Ulster
4.00pm: Munster v Connacht
Saturday, October 6
2.00pm: Draw will be made on Friday evening
3.00pm: Draw will be made on Friday evening
Sunday, October 7
10.30am: Draw will be made on Friday evening
11.00am: Draw will be made on Friday evening