With Carrick-on-Shannon full-back Shane Layden playing a starring role in the U-20 Six Nations opening two games, the Carrick man and Ireland will be hoping to make it three wins from three when they host Italy at Dubarry Park, Athlone, on Friday night, kick off 7pm.
Ireland made the perfect start when accounting for a decent Wales squad in the opening round in front of a huge midlands crowd at the Athlone stadium. They then topped that performance with a magnificent victory over a highly fancied France in snowy Grenoble. Ireland fought from start to finish for every ball and tackle to upset the French by the minimum and, now with two successive ‘Electric Ireland’ home fixtures at Dubarry Park, they will be keen to build further momentum as they bid for the title.
Midlands followers will be looking to see local favourites Shane Layden, Athlonian Daniel Qualter, and Conor Finn from Ballinasloe (all from the host club Buccaneers) in action along with Mullingar’s Conor Gilsenan, now of UCD and Leinster. The Buccs trio could be joined by their clubmate and Connacht front-rower Diarmuid Higgins, who was in the squad that performed heroics in France.
Tickets can be bought in advance at The Bounty/Dubarry Park and also from Musicworld, Golden Island Shopping Centre, Athlone. Demand is strong again particularly for Stand tickets at €20 each so early purchase is recommended if you wish to have a seat on the night. Ground/Terrace tickets are €15 each while OAP/Student tickets cost €10. Family tickets at only €30 for 2 adults and 2 children are available. Discount vouchers for school-children are distributed to secondary and national schools in the region. Discounts are also available for groups. Contact the club’s Administrator Geraldine at (086) 1732711 to book. Cash will also be taken at the turnstiles so come along in good time to avoid the rush.
Pre-match tables are also available. Cost per person is only €40 which covers a 3-course sit-down meal and wine as well as reserved seat in the Stand so that is really good value indeed.