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XV of Current Irish Players From Non-Traditional Rugby Counties

XV of Current Irish Players From Non-Traditional Rugby Counties
Conor O'Leary
By Conor O'Leary
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Rugby is traditionally associated with specific areas of South Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Belfast and Galway. We thought it would be great to give credit to the other non traditional rugby counties of Ireland that have current provincial players in tow. The only criteria is that the player can't be from the counties of Antrim, Down, Dublin, Kildare, Limerick, Cork or Galway; they must still be playing (Sorry Gavin Duffy, Shane Horgan and Moss Keane) and have played for a province at the senior level. In the event that there was more than one option, I've chosen the player that allows us to name as many counties as possible.


I know there are players that we've missed out so comment with yours, and bonus points to those who comment giving us a player playing tighthead or flanker so that we can have 15 counties represented.

1. Denis Buckley (Connacht / Co. Roscommon)


Denis Buckley has made a great start to this season for Connacht, leading to him being pushed forward for Ireland selection by those fans out west. Buckley grew up playing for Creggs RFC in South county Roscommon.

2. Dave Heffernan (Connacht / Co. Mayo)


Hailing from the Ballina in North Co. Mayo, Dave Heffernan continues the Ballina representation in the Connacht squad since Gavin Duffy's retirement from professional sport.


3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster / Co. Wexford)


119 kg of pure Wexford beef; Furlong was raised in New Ross, Co. Wexford. The first of two Wexford representatives in this list, Furlong has burst onto the scene for the Leinster senior team this season after long being earmarked for future stardom. This 21 year old is one to watch out for to help ease Ireland's historic prop problems.

4. Iain Henderson (Ulster / Co. Armagh)



A little bit of a stretch here, but Henderson is from Craigavon in County Armagh originally, before attending Belfast Royal Academy.

5. Devin Toner (Leinster/ Co. Meath)


They breed them tall out there in Moynalvey, Co. Meath. All 6'10'' of Devin Toner was born and raised in Meath, before he ended up in Castleknock College in the west of Dublin city.


6. Sean O'Brien (Leinster / Co. Carlow)


The classic rugby player from an unorthodox rugby area. 'The Tullow Tank' has lead the way for a surge in interest in rugby from Carlow, with the Byrne twins coming soon after him. It may not be long before Carlow will be added to the list of counties for us to discount when looking for this XV in the future.

7. Tommy O'Donnell (Munster / Co. Tipperary)

Tommy O'Donnell


Sorry Tipperary rugby fans, there was a serious lack of alternatives for flanker, which leads to Tommy O'Donnell being included in this list. The Cahir native has been improving for Munster in recent years and looks set to add to his 4 Irish caps.

8. Robin Copeland (Munster / Co. Wexford)



Wexford is the only county named twice on this list, due to a lack of alternatives at both tighthead and no. 8. After leaving Leinster to play his rugby for Plymouth in 2010, Munster decided to bring him home after spells with Rotherham and Cardiff Blues.


9. Cathal Sheridan (Munster / Co. Sligo)


The second choice Munster scrumhalf leads a list of precisely one scrumhalf in Ireland not from a rugby county. The Sligo Grammar graduate has done well when called upon for Munster and has 26 caps to his name.

10. Jack Carty (Connacht / Co.Roscommon)

Jack Carty



A former Roscommon minor, Carty is starting to  establish himself as one of the key cogs in Connacht's young backline. He's come into the side midway through last year, and has yet to look back. Another gem from the Connacht academy production line.

11. Andrew Trimble (Ulster / Co. Derry)


Andrew Trimble, from Coleraine in County Derry is part of a trio of Ulster stars on this list. Capped 55 times for Ireland, he's also the most capped player featured, one ahead of Bowe (54).

12. JJ Hanrahan (Munster / Co. Kerry)


Kerry may not be known for it's rugby history, but they do have a nice list of Munster legends hailing from the county with Mick Galwey and Moss Keane. JJ Hanrahan is the latest, hailing from Currow. The former IRB Junior Player of the Year nominee has a big future ahead of him and could go on to emulate the achievement of past Kerry rugby greats.

13. Robbie Henshaw (Connacht / Co. Westmeath)


The heir apparent to one Brian O'Driscoll for Ireland's 13 jersey. From the Westmeath part of Athlone, Henshaw has risen through the ranks of Buccaneers and Marist College benefiting from some excellent coaching along the way.

14. Tommy Bowe (Ulster / Co. Monaghan)


Tommy Bowe remains as Monaghan's only Irish and British Lion. The Emyvale winger has had a stellar career, playing for Ulster and the Ospreys, and winning the grand slam with Ireland in 2009.

15. Dave Kearney (Leinster / Co. Louth)


I flipped a coin. It was heads. Dave wins over Rob. Both Kearneys are very proud of their Louth roots, and both grew up playing fullback.

h/t John Casley

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