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Seven members of Ireland's under-20 squad have today signed academy contracts with reigning PRO14 champions Leinster. 

Trinity duo Joe McCarthy and Max O’Reilly, UCD's Niall Comerford and Sean O'Brien, Clontarf's Andrew Smith and Alex Soroka and Old Belvedere's John McKee were all part of the Ireland team who won their opening three games in this year's under-20 Six Nations before the competition was halted by the pandemic.

Ireland 20s boss and Leinster Academy manager Noel McNamara has welcomed their arrival:

“This morning’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.

“It is also important to highlight the role played by the coaching team based in the Ken Wall Centre of Excellence (in Donnybrook) and their contribution in developing these players.

“We are very much looking forward to continuing our support to the incoming players in the next stage of their journey with Leinster.”

Ryan Baird, Harry Byrne, Jack Dunne, Tommy O'Brien and Dan Sheehan have all been promoted to senior deals with Leo Cullen's side and McNamara is wishing the players well on their next step with the province:

“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.

"Then it’s time to get excited for the next group coming in and seeing how they develop over the coming seasons."

Leinster Rugby – Senior Contracts 2020/21:

  • Ryan Baird (7 caps)
  • Harry Byrne (9 caps)
  • Jack Dunne (7 caps)
  • Tommy O’Brien (3 caps)
  • Dan Sheehan (0 caps)

Leinster Rugby Academy – Year Three 2020/21:

  • David Hawkshaw
  • Michael Milne (8 caps)
  • Aaron O’Sullivan
  • Patrick Patterson (3 caps)
  • Michael Silvester

Leinster Rugby Academy – Year Two 2020/21:

  • Tom Clarkson
  • Brian Deeny
  • Cormac Foley
  • Martin Moloney
  • Charlie Ryan
  • Liam Turner

Leinster Rugby Academy – Year One 2020/21:

  • Niall Comerford
  • Joe McCarthy
  • John McKee
  • Sean O’Brien
  • Max O’Reilly
  • Andrew Smith
  • Alex Soroka

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