Ahead of Ireland’s first ever u19 game, we caught up with the Captain Matt Connolly.

Matt is one of the most experienced players in the club, having played with Ashbourne Stags, Athboy Longhorns, and the Republic of Ireland State of Origin and Ireland Student teams.

Connolly has had a lot of success in Rugby league this year so far, winning the RLI 9’s tournament with Athboy Longhorns and then going on to win the inaugural State of Origin Series with ROI.

This u19 team is made up of fully domestic players, comprised from schools and clubs players.

-Hi Matt, How has the training been going?

Training has been going great it has been very tough but we are pulling together as a team and gelling nicely.

-What’s the mood in the camp like?

We all have started to get a buzz going about us coming closer to the match, the lads are bonding well. everyone is excited to get stuck in.

-How did you feel when Conor Kelly gave you the nod to be captain?

It was on my birthday, I was out having dinner when Conor rang, I was very surprised and honoured to be chosen. Who could ask for a better birthday present.

-How did you get into Rugby League?

I was asked to play for Ashbourne stags by Steve Szpara, and it all went up from there.


Are you excited for the two games?

Personally I am really excited to lead out the lads. It will be a very proud moment for me and my family. How do you think We’ll get on?Both games will be really physical but I think with our fitness and the strong amount of effort during training we have the skills and raw physicality to win both games.What do you think will be the biggest challenge for us against the two teams? Definitely just to keep our focus, not to over complicate anything and to play our game not theirs.

-What’s been the highlight of your rugby league career up to date (apart from the captaincy)?

Winning the state of origin with the Republic of Ireland eagles and winning the rli 9’s with Athboy longhorns.



1. Morning, noon or night? 


2. How do you like your steak? 

Medium rare

3. What was the last film you saw? 


4. What’s your favorite place to watch TV? 

My bedroom

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 


6. What did you eat for breakfast? 

Four weetabix 

7. What is your favorite cuisine? 


8. What kind of car do you drive? 

Peugeot 206

9. What are your favorite clothes? 

Rugby league Ireland gear 

10. Where would you visit if you had the chance? 

New Zealand 

11. Weapon of choice? 

M4A1 carbine

12. Favourite colour ?

13. Where would you want to retire?


14. Gold or Silver? 


15. Where were you born? 


16. What is your favorite sport to watch? 

Rugby league

17. Who do you think will not tag you back? 

Jake wall the lads not on Facebook 

18. Do you have any pets? 

A dog (Caesar)
19. Hard or soft?  


20. Sub or dom? 


21. Are you a morning or a night person? 



Ireland Under 19 Squad:

Adam Anderson (Belfast Metropolitan College)

Adam Brodigan (St. Joseph’s CBS, Drogheda)

Adam Carberry (Gormanston College)

Cathal Downey (St. Joseph’s CBS, Drogheda)

Cathal Duffy (St. Joseph’s CBS, Drogheda)

Cian Harrington (Gormanston College)

Conor Redmond (St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Drogheda)

Craig Black (Moyle Park College / West Dublin Bears RLFC)

Darren Madden (Tallaght Community College / West Dublin Bears RLFC)

Daryl Hand (Belfast Metropolitan College)

Emmet Banahan (Gormanston College)

Jake Wall (Athboy Longhorns RLFC)

Johnny Dunlop (Belfast Metropolitan College)

Johnny Mooney (Belfast Metropolitan College)

Mark Bishop (Belfast Metropolitan College)

Matt Connolly (Athboy Longhorns RLFC)

Paul Bolger (St. Mac Dara’s Community College / Dublin City Exiles)

Ryan Healy (St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Drogheda)

Sean Hayes (Gormanston College)

Ty Mackness (Belfast Metropolitan College)

The Ireland u19 team will take on Scotland u19 at 12pm on Saturday (25th October) in Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. 

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