Stuart McCloskey continues to rise in stock with Ireland selection

Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey
Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey

Exciting young Ulster centre, Stuart McCloskey, has added another feather to his cap after being given a start on the Emerging Ireland team tomorrow.

McCloskey was one of five Ulster stars and 10 previously uncapped players to be named in the starting XV as the Irish side open their IRB Nations Cup tournament in Romania with a game against Russia.

Centre, McCloskey, who is understood to be moving clubs this season from Dungannon to Ballynahinch, made his debut for Ulster in the PRO12 in February, going on to make four more appearances.

The Ulster Academy player impressed in all his outings and although he was not selected in the initial Emerging Ireland squad, call-ups to the senior panel afforded an opening for the 21-year-old.

Experienced Ulster winger, Craig Gilroy and scrumhalf, Paul Marshall also start while there are Irish debuts for prop, Callum Black and hooker, Niall Annett, who will leave the Province at the end of the season.

Robin Copeland, who will join Munster after the tour, starts at No 8.

The Emerging Ireland team is:

Johne Murphy (Young Munster/Munster), Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster), Eoin Griffin (Galwegians/Connacht), Stuart McCloskey (Dungannon/Ulster), Andrew Conway (Blackrock College/Munster), Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster), Paul Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster), Callum Black (Malone/Ulster), Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Michael Bent (Dublin University/Leinster), Michael Kearney (Clontarf/Connacht), David Foley (UL Bohemians/Munster), Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster) (capt), Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster), Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues) *

Replacements: James Tracy (UCD/Leinster), John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Billy Holland (Cork Constitution/Munster), Sean Dougall (Dolphin/Munster), Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster), JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster), Brendan Macken (Blackrock College/Leinster).