Third-year Trinity student and Leinster player Joe McCarthy has made the Ireland senior team’s squad for the first time for Ireland’s last-round fixture against Scotland tomorrow.
Having only made his senior debut for Leinster in January, the 20 year old has excelled for the province since, seamlessly filling the void left by the province’s Irish second-rows James Ryan and Ryan Baird.
McCarthy is joined in his call-up to the squad by fellow second-row and Leinster teammate Ross Molony due to injuries sustained by Ryan and Baird in recent games.
McCarthy was a part of the Ireland under-20 team that won the 2020 U20 Six Nations. He has developed through the ranks at Leinster whilst plying his trade with DUFC as recently as December, at which point he was called into the Leinster set-up.
Ireland have beaten Wales, Italy and England so far in the championship but their loss to unbeaten France means that for Ireland to win the championship England must draw against or beat France and Ireland must win. Ireland have a superior points difference to France so they can win the championship even without getting a bonus-point win in the event of a tie between England and France. Even a draw against Scotland would be enough but England would need to beat France for that to happen.
In any case, if Ireland beat Scotland they will claim the triple crown, an award they have not won since 2018 when they won the Six Nations.
The match kicks off at 4:45pm on Virgin Media One.
Speaking to The University Times earlier this month, McCarthy said he did not expect to embark on a professional path. “I was kind of a bit of a late bloomer, I’d say, because coming up through school I didn’t really get picked on many first teams until about my final year in school.”
“And then just kind of in my final year, I wouldn’t even have thought I would’ve made [the Blackrock College first team] and then after the Senior Cup I got a call.”
“It improved me so much [playing for Trinity] because like I probably wasn’t really on the Leinster radar or anything. And then playing like senior rugby with Trinity straight away that’s kind of when they [Leinster] really took notice. I learned a lot from like Tony because the way that Trinity play they move the ball, they play fast, and it’s kind of similar to how Leinster want to play as well.”