Offical URC Quarter-Final Programme
Fri 3 Jun 2022, 7.35pm
In this Issue
Welcome back to Kingspan Stadium, the home of Ulster Rugby,
where tonight the Ulster squad welcomes Munster Rugby
for the Quarter-Final of the United Rugby Championship.
As we enter the play-offs of the United Rugby Championship,
Ulster will seek a win after their recent loss to Munster, while also keeping a strong
season alive. Ulster ended the season strongly, with a hard-fought victory
versus South African side Cell C Sharks. While Munster lost to table-toppers Leinster in
the Aviva stadium. The play-offs promise a hard-fought game
as both sides search for silverware.
On behalf of the entire Ulster Rugby and Kingspan community, we would like to extend
the warmest of welcomes to our visitors and we have no doubt the loyal crowd in
Kingspan Stadium will be stirring support for the Ulster team.
Finally, on behalf of Kingspan, I would like to wish the Ulster Rugby
squad and management team the very best of luck.
To Ulster’s committed fans, enjoy the game, lead the way and help ensure
that this is an evening to remember at Kingspan Stadium.
8 John Cooney
Ones To Watch
36 New Recruits
41 Iain v Rob
42 with Extra Spice!
50 Referee Course
Getting to Know
Alan O’Connor Named
URC Tackle Machine
Ulster Rugby thanks
Welcome to the United Rugby
Championship Quarter-Final and our last
home game of the 2021-22 season.
It’s fantastic to be able to welcome you
all back for a play-off game after Ulster
defeated Cell C Sharks two weeks ago to
seal a home quarter-final in the URC.
I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our
visitors and Inter-Pro rivals, Munster who
come into this game after a defeat by
Leinster at The Aviva Stadium a fortnight ago.
However, Munster have beaten Ulster home
and away this season, so Dan McFarland’s
charges will have to be at the top of their
game to book a place in the semi-final against
either DHL Stormers or Edinburgh.
As the regular domestic season winds
down, there is still plenty of rugby activity
with summer programmes such as tag
rugby, ‘Give It A Try’ and Summer Camps.
Clubs will also be working hard over the
summer months to prepare their facilities
and structures for the upcoming season,
but I hope that all of our volunteers and staff
will have the opportunity for some respite
before the new season kicks off again.
The 2022 International Mixed Ability
Rugby Tournament will take place in Cork
from 5 – 10 June, and I’d like to wish Malone
Tornadoes and Banbridge Barbarians the
very best of luck in the competition!
As I approach the end of my tenure as
IRFU Ulster Branch President, I would
like to take the opportunity to say a huge
thank-you to all of our supporters for your
outstanding commitment and following of
the Ulster Men both home and away. The
Kingspan Stadium match-day atmosphere
boasts the best of any supporter base in
the United Rugby Championship, and I am
privileged to have held this position over
the last three seasons.
I would also like to thank you all for making
my role as President an incredibly enjoyable
and rewarding one, and I look forward to
coming back to SUFTUM next season.
Enjoy the game and thank you for your
President, IRFU Ulster Branch
Name: Leo Doyle
Favourite Player: Iain Henderson
Favourite thing about supporting
Ulster: Getting to watch his club
hero Iain Henderson with his family
at Kingspan Stadium.
The Ulster scrum-half is set to make his
100th appearance when he takes to the
field on Friday versus Munster, and he’s
delighted to be able to hit the century
Congratulations on reaching 100 Ulster
appearances – how does it feel to reach
who have gone on to win the Heineken
Champions Cup at the weekend there. They
would be just a couple of many – I could talk
all day about them.
One of many fond memories for us was
your try against Clermont in 2019, that
snipe down the short-side and chip through
It’s a very proud moment for me. I would be
one who focuses on milestones and goalsetting.
Since the start of the season, it was
my biggest goal to get to 100 caps. I’ve
had a couple of injuries this season – my
first few years it seemed I’d get there quite
quickly. I’ve been counting every week one
closer to that hundred. It’s very proud for
me to represent this province 100 times, it
means a lot to me.
Will your mum be coming along to the
game? We understand she likes to come
along but doesn’t watch your kicks!
Mum has become a bit of a celeb now. She
never watches my kicks live – she always
looks away. She comes to every game and
loves coming to watch. She even comes
with me two hours early and sits around
waiting. She’s happy out with her tea and
sandwiches! She loves coming and it’s nice
to know she’s out there watching me. It’s
one of the driving forces behind why I try
so hard for myself, the club and for her.
Can you tell us some of your favourite
memories playing in an Ulster jersey?
There are plenty! It would be hard to pick
one, but I’ve had several at Kingspan
Stadium. One that I always remember is
playing Munster around New Year and we
scored three tries after going down 17-0 to
win the game 24-17. For us to come back
from what looked like it would be a loss
was huge. Playing La Rochelle at home
was a big win for us to beat a powerhouse
You’re giving me shivers talking about it. It
was one of those out-of-body experiences
– I don’t know what happened. My football
skills from playing as a young lad kicked in
for that try.
There was also a try I scored against
Munster in January 2020 that would be a
highlight, beating them at home and Stuart
McCloskey putting Matty Rea through for a
try. I was lucky enough to score that night
– that was my favourite try that I’ve scored
for Ulster. It was a big game for me and
Munster are big rivals. I remember scoring
early and feeling comfortable in the game. I
know people would think my favourite was
Clermont, but that Munster game would
have been my favourite try.
What is it that makes playing for Ulster
Rugby special for you?
It would be remiss of me not to mention how
amazing the fans are. Ever since I came here,
I’ve been taken in as if I’ve grown up here.
Turning attentions to this week, what
sort of a challenge do you expect from
We know exactly what Munster are about.
We know how hard they pushed Toulouse in
the Heineken Champions Cup. They will be
hurting after the last couple of weeks losing
against Leinster in a game they would have
thought they’d win. Sometimes it’s difficult
to get teams off the back of performances
like that in really tough fixtures.
We have been on the other side of losing
to them, then we put in a very hardy
defensive performance against Edinburgh
the following week. Against Sharks two
weeks ago, we attacked better. We know
exactly what Munster will be thinking;
they’re going to come out 100%. Knockout
rugby is a completely different animal
and teams are usually at their best when
they play these games.
Does it make it more or less difficult having
played against a team several times before
compared to the likes of Sharks last time
out who Ulster haven’t played before?
That’s a credit to the people and how good
they are to make people feel that way. It
was difficult coming in after Ruan [Pienaar],
I had a lot to live up to, but the supporters
really took to me. When they showed me
that loyalty and love towards me, I can be an
emotional guy sometimes, but it meant so
much to me. Anyone who pays that kind of
support, I always try to re-pay. That’s the main
reason why I try so hard. I like to think I give
100% for the club and the people. It means a
lot to me to reach that milestone and play for
People joke about me being a turncoat, but
I do have a lot of family from County Tyrone.
My great grandad emigrated from Tyrone to
Scotland. I’ve always felt a bit of an allegiance.
Yeah, I think it’s a little bit easier, especially
as we played Munster recently. There were
a few tactics that they used against us last
time that were very good. It’s definitely
something we noticed, and we’ve come up
with a plan to deal with them better. I’m
hoping that it will be a blessing in disguise
our poor performance a month or so ago.
We’ve righted a lot of wrongs from that day.
In that regard, it can be beneficial.
Your opposite numbers Conor Murray and
Craig Casey both bring different skills to
the game – what do you make of them as
I have luckily got to play both of them
several times. Conor and I date back to the
Irish U20s where we played together and
competed, and then at senior international
level as well. Conor has been brilliant for
the last 10-12 years. He brings a strong
kicking game and a quality passing game.
Craig is a bit quicker with getting the ball
away and offers different options with his
running game. They’re a bit of a yin-yang;
two different types of players. They’re the
types of guys you need to be alert to in
different ways. I find when the other person
comes on, you are a bit more aware of
opportunities he might take. They’ve both
got similar and dissimilar ways of playing.
I’m looking forward to it.
Finally, how much are you looking forward
to running out for your 100th Ulster
appearance in front of a home crowd and
in such a big game?
Big time! To play my hundredth cap at
home, I couldn’t have picked a better day.
To get to do it in front of a home crowd
in the URC quarter-final is very special. I
have friends coming up and my family will
be here too. To do it with everyone who
means a lot to me and the players, support
staff and supporters, I couldn’t pick a more
perfect day to do it and hopefully we will
top it off with a win.
THE BIGGEST NAMES.
ALL THE GAMES.
THE BIGGEST GAMES.
PREMIER SPORTS OFFER PAID SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES. PAYMENTS FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS TO PREMIER SPORTS VIA
SKY OR THE PREMIER PLAYER STREAMING SERVICE WILL AUTOMATICALLY RECUR MONTHLY UNLESS NOTICE IS
GIVEN TO CANCEL. CANCELATION MUST BE MADE BY PHONE OR EMAIL AND MUST INCLUDE A MINIMUM 5 DAYS
NOTICE PRIOR TO NEXT BILL. NO CANCELATIONS ACCEPTED WITHIN 48 HOURS OF SUBSCRIBING. SUBSCRIPTIONS
ARE A MINIMUM ONE MONTH DURATION. T&CS APPLY, SEE WWW.PREMIERSPORTS.COM FOR DETAILS
Getting to Know
Do you have a nickname? If so, what is it?
For better or worse, I haven’t had any
real nicknames. When I played at an U18s
7s tournament I was dubbed ‘wishbone
thunderstorm’ for the day, but it didn’t
seem to stick (not sure why).
Who was your favourite player growing
up and why?
I didn’t really grow up in a rugby
household, so I didn’t have much exposure
to the sport, never mind the women’s
game. When I started playing at 17, I
suppose I looked up to Rory Best, I was
so proud that a local Ulster man was the
captain of the Irish squad. It just proves
how important exposure is.
Who is your favourite player now?
Now, it has to be Ashleigh Baxter. I met
Ashleigh in the Ulster set up and she was
training and playing with Cooke for the
second half of this season. Her wealth of
experience from playing internationally
is phenomenal, she brings so much
individually but also, she feeds so much
into the squad as well. Plus, she is an
What is your favourite thing about
I really appreciate the community around
the game. I think it’s excellent to be able
to meet with a group of like-minded,
driven women and spend time together
pushing each other on. I think as a female
athlete that supportive atmosphere is
Do you have any pets? If so, tell us
I’ve always grown up with dogs,
but last summer I bit the bullet
and went and got my ‘first’ dog.
She’s an Australian Kelpie
Border Collie cross called Roo
(like kangaroo) and she is such
an odd ball, so she fit right in
from day one.
Like a typical herding breed, she
is very high energy and would
do anything for a ball (including
blatant theft), but when she’s in
the house she is an absolute
space invader and will insist
on sitting on your lap. Her
favourite things are ball,
on the beach
a tidy or
I would love
to say that
I am tidy,
who strives to be
tidy. I’m getting
better but it’s
definitely a work in
If you could eat one meal for the rest of
your life, what would it be?
This is really tough, because I am a huge
foodie. Probably pizza- BBQ or Hawaiian
with extra pineapple (yes, pineapple does
belong on pizza).
What can’t you live without?
Food, which is probably why I’ll never
break into the backline.
Do you have any pre-match rituals or
I love arriving really early before the
game. I think getting out on the
pitch before warmup to get a bit
of headspace really helps settle
If you were a super-hero, what
powers would you have?
I would love to have the ability to
control time. Imagine never being late
for a deadline and always getting a lie in.
List two pet peeves.
People who are
negative all the
time and untidy
aware of the
w o r d s
w o u l d
y o u r
Are you good at any other sports?
I competed in gymnastics as a kid for
years, but I wasn’t very coordinated and
managed to get by on just being strong for
a 10-year-old. I think if I left rugby I would
look consider competing in Olympic lifting
or powerlifting. I appreciate the simplicity
of just going to the gym and getting as
strong as possible, and it would be nice
to not have to worry about doing broncos
What is your favourite film?
I’m embarrassed to admit that I love
watching any/all Christmas films- even the
really awful Netflix ones. I appreciate well
scripted blockbuster movies but there is
something so fuzzy about Christmas films.
Do you have any fears? If so, what are they?
Bugs- specifically spiders. I’m not ashamed
to admit that I called my grandad round
to save me from a particularly monstrous
one that I found in my bed with me a few
What motivates you?
I’m very goal-orientated so I get a lot
of enjoyment from setting targets so
I’m always working towards the next
progression. Surrounding yourself with
supportive people is helpful too, on
the days when you can’t muster the
motivation, you know that external
support is there to keep you going.
JOIN FOR FREE
articles & analysis
Match highlights &
exclusive video content
Head Coach: Dan McFarland
Assistant Coach: Dan Soper
Forwards Coach: Roddy Grant
Defence Coach: Jared Payne
Skills Coach: Craig Newby
Fly Half / Centre
MEN’S SENIOR SQUAD
MEN’S SENIOR SQUAD
THE SPIRIT OF
DISCOVER THE SPIRIT WITHIN |
The oval trim design is a registered trademark of Gilbert Rugby.
2 Herring 3 O’Toole
1 Wycherley 2 Scannell 3 Archer
4 O’Connor 5 Henderson
4 Kleyn 5 Wycherley
6 O’Mahony 8 Coombes
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
AR 1: Hollie Davidson (SRU) AR 2: Ben Blain (SRU)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuisen (SARU)
16 John Andrew
16 Diarmuid Barron
12 de Allende
17 Eric O’Sullivan
17 Jeremy Loughman
18 Gareth Milasinovich
18 John Ryan
19 Kieran Treadwell
19 Jason Jenkins
20 Matty Rea
20 Thomas Ahern
21 Nathan Doak
21 Craig Casey
22 Ian Madigan
22 Ben Healy,
23 Ben Moxham
23 Chris Cloete
Live on: Premier Sports & TG4
BALLYGOWAN – OFFICIAL HYDRATION
PARTNER OF ULSTER RUGBY
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
Ones to Watch
17/09/1989 1.91 m 108 kg
The Cork-native and club captain, O’Mahony has a
long list of accolades to his name, including: 159 Caps
for Munster, 84 Caps for Ireland, Player of the Match in
Ireland’s famous victory over New Zealand in 2018 and
British & Irish Lion.
O’Mahony signed a two-year IRFU contract extension in
20/04/1989 1.88 m 93 kg
Selected for a third Lions tour in 2021 and named in
World Rugby’s Team of The Decade, Murray is definitely
a threat to any opposition,
Signed a two-year IRFU contract extension in December
2021 to keep him at Munster until at least June 2024.
01/11/1995 1.83m 86kg
Deadly off the boot, Carberry was instrumental to
Munster’s victory over Ulster, back in April.
Last season, Carberry won the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow
Cup Golden Boot award, having kicked 16/16 off the tee
in the competition.
NAME POSITION AGE HEIGHT WEIGHT
Dave Kilcoyne Prop 33 1.85 m 118 kg
James French Prop 23 1.85 m 120 kg
Jeremy Loughman Prop 26 1.85 m 120 kg
John Ryan Prop 33 1.85 m 121 kg
Josh Wycherley Prop 22 1.83 m 108 kg
Keynan Knox Prop 23 1.85 m 115 kg
Liam O'connor Prop 26 1.80 m 110 kg
Roman Salanoa Prop 24 1.83 m 123 kg
Stephen Archer Prop 34 1.88 m 121 kg
Diarmuid Barron Hooker 23 1.84 m 100 kg
Kevin O'Byrne Hooker 31 1.80 m 105 kg
Niall Scannell Hooker 30 1.85 m 111 kg
Fineen Wycherley Lock 24 1.96 m 112 kg
Jason Jenkins Lock 26 2.01 m 125 kg
Jean Kleyn Lock 28 2.03 m 121 kg
Rg Snyman Lock 27 2.06 m 120 kg
Tadhg Beirne Lock 30 1.98 m 114 kg
Thomas Ahern Lock 22 2.06 m 115 kg
Chris Cloete Back row 31 1.76 m 106 kg
Gavin Coombes Back row 24 1.98 m 110 kg
Jack Daly Back row 23 1.83 m 106 kg
Jack O'Donoghue Back row 28 1.91 m 110 kg
Jack O'Sullivan Back row 23 1.89 m 100 kg
John Hodnett Back row 23 1.85 m 103 kg
Peter O'Mahony Back row 32 1.91 m 108 kg
Conor Murray Scrum-half 33 1.88 m 93 kg
Craig Casey Scrum-half 23 1.65 m 76 kg
Neil Cronin Scrum-half 29 1.73 m 83 kg
Rowan Osborne Scrum-half 25 1.70 m 77 kg
Ben Healy Fly-half 22 1.91 m 97 kg
Jack Crowley Fly-half 22 1.83 m 90 kg
Joey Carbery Fly-half 26 1.83 m 86 kg
Calvin Nash Center 24 1.80 m 90 kg
Chris Farrell Center 29 1.91 m 110 kg
Damian De Allende Center 30 1.91 m 105 kg
Dan Goggin Center 27 1.88 m 97 kg
Rory Scannell Center 28 1.79 m 96 kg
Sean French Center 22 1.88 m 99 kg
Shane Daly Center 25 1.91 m 92 kg
Andrew Conway Wing 30 1.80 m 91 kg
Keith Earls Wing 34 1.80 m 90 kg
Liam Coombes Wing 24 1.91 m 90 kg
Jake Flannery Fullback 22 1.83 m 91 kg
Matt Gallagher Fullback 25 1.85 m 96 kg
Mike Haley Fullback 27 1.91 m 94 kg
Simon Zebo Fullback 32 1.88 m 94 kg
Half-Time Exhibition Games
It is great to see one of Ulster Rugby’s newest products being showcased on the pitch tonight.
Tag rugby is played during spring, summer and autumn and appeals to a wide range of abilities.
Rugby playing experience isn’t required as this is a non-contact form of the sport, with both
male and female players playing together.
Players come from all over to take part in the tag leagues and it is great to see the
Hawaii Tag 0, The Van Der Flyers, What’s Tag and QUBES teams on the pitch tonight.
Memorial Stand End
Hawaii Tag 0
Kit: Hawaiian Shirts
The Van Der Flyers
1 Aaron McNeill
7 Katie Jamison
1 Ross Gilmore
7 Jacob Caughey
2 Niall Lawther
8 Daniel Moorcroft
2 John Ewing
8 Ewan McCracken
3 Mark Jackson
9 Emma Lewis
3 Dan Whitcroft
9 Megan Henry
4 Ben Orr
4 Dave Pope
10 Lea Carson
5 Holly Jamison
5 Emma Kennedy
6 Lauren McKinty
6 Leah Young
AbbeyAutoline Family Stand End
Kit: Black & Yellow
1 Ben Hopkins
7 Shel Laffin
1 Darren Broderick
7 Jack De Wolf
2 Adam Smith
8 Michelle Green
2 Daire Magill
8 Alix Magowan
3 Mark Menary
9 Chloe Ferris
3 Rachel Porter
9 Lily Campbell
4 Kenny McComb
10 Gemma Wood
4 Cara Davison
10 Chloe Gibson
5 Ruth Carson
11 Lauren Bingham
5 Adam Welsh
6 Julia Daire
12 Beth Cushnahan
6 Evaldas Parsiunas
If you would like to find our more about tag rugby, please visit ulster.rugby/tagrugby
Last Time Out
Fri 20 Apr, 7.35pm | Kingspan Stadium
Ulster held off a late Cell C Sharks surge to
claim victory and a URC home quarter-final.
Both sides were keen to put their stamp
on the game, putting in thundering hits to
set the tone. Ulster had a promising chance
in the second minute of the game as they
looked to go wide but the ball didn’t make
the hands of Robert Baloucoune waiting in
the wings and went into touch.
Cell C Sharks soon found themselves deep
into Ulster territory, but Duane Vermeulen
got over the ball to make the poach and
regain possession. The visitors probed
again, but the Ulster defence swarmed
around them to force the turnover and Billy
Burns kicked clear.
Ulster showed real creativity with ball in
hand, Stuart McCloskey running some hard
lines in midfield to create opportunities. Billy
Burns made an accurate cross-field kick to
Ethan McIlroy, but the winger was just in
touch as he tried to make the offload.
24 - 21
Ulster got onto the board on 16 minutes,
when Iain Henderson snaffled up Jaden
Hendrikse with the ball to earn the penalty,
John Cooney obliging with the three points.
Ulster’s pressure paid off ten minutes
later, their back line going quickly through
the hands out to Ethan McIlroy, who did
fantastically to make the offload inside to
Mike Lowry who bundled over for their first
try of the game. Cooney landed the extras to
put 10 points between the two sides.
The Sharks’ first opportunity for points came
five minutes before half-time, after getting a
penalty at the scrum. Curwin Bosch’s effort
The men in black tried to test Ulster’s
defences again just before the break,
but Nick Timoney made a crucial
turnover penalty to get out of danger,
keeping the Sharks scoreless going into
the changing rooms.
Ulster came firing out of the blocks in the
second half, and it only took three minutes
for them to strike. Stuart McCloskey went
on the charge and fended off two Sharks
defenders as he powered through under the
posts. John Cooney fired over the two to
stretch Ulster’s lead further.
The South African side started to pile
the pressure on Ulster, who managed
to withstand wave after wave of attack.
Eventually, Ulster were penalised for not
releasing, and the Sharks opted for the
tap-and-go. Replacement prop, Ntuthuko
Mchunu crashed over from short range for
their first try, and Bosch made the conversion.
The Ulster men responded immediately.
Robert Baloucoune made a superb break
with John Cooney in support to send James
Hume home for Ulster’s third try. Cooney
made no mistake with the extras.
The men in black pulled one back with
five minutes to go through Marius Louw
dotting over and Boeta Chamberlain made
The Sharks struck again in the dying minutes
as Grant Williams raced down the right
wing and Chamberlain converted to bring it
to within three points, but Ulster had done
enough to hold on for the win.
Full Time Score:
Ulster 24 - 21 Cell C Sharks
Kingspan’s products sold in 2020, will make a significant
positive contribution to the environment over their lifetime.
tonnes of CO 2
will be saved
over the life of
systems sold in
billion litres of
rainwater will be
harvested by our
in 2020 2
In 2020 alone,
we upcycled 573
9 billion lumens
power a major
15 years 1
to fill over 400
fill over 800
Enough to light
up 1 million
Visit our 2020
1. Assumes 60 year product life; based
on an EU airline disclosure of 10.5m
tonnes of CO 2
e emissions in 2019
2. Assumes a 20 year product life
3. Assumes 10 x 60W bulbs per home
Jewel Changi Airport | Singapore
As we complete our business for the Heineken Champions Cup and United Rugby
Championship campaigns in the season ahead, we take a look at our new recruits joining
the province in the summer.
Jeff Toomaga-Allen (Pictured left)
Hailing from Wellington, tighthead prop
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen is set to bring a
wealth of experience gained from across the
world to the white jersey, including through
his involvement in English Premiership side,
Wasps, where he has played a key role in
the squad over his 62 appearance to-date.
Making his senior debut in his home country
back in 2012, the 31-year-old known for his
high-intensity scrummaging went on to
make almost 150 combined appearances for
the Hurricanes and Wellington, and helped
the ‘Canes win the Super Rugby title in 2016,
as well as starting against the British and
Irish Lions in 2017 with the side.
His successful professional playing career
is no surprise given his early international
involvement as part of the New Zealand
U20s Junior World Championship-winning
team in 2010. This was followed by his debut
as All-Black number 1130 against Japan in
2013, and his subsequent recall to the New
Zealand side in 2017 when he was involved in
a win over the Barbarians, as well as a being
a starter in the victory over France that year.
The 6ft 4in prop signs on a 1-year deal.
New-Zealand born, and Irish-qualified, Declan Moore joined-up
with the Ulster squad earlier this season from Munster Rugby as
short-term injury cover and has already impressed in training.
The 25-year-old hooker, who grew up in Australia, made his
Senior debut for Munster in their Heineken Champions Cup
Round 1 fixture versus Wasps, having already lined out for
Shannon RFC in the AIL and Munster ‘A’, this season. He is now
signed-up to Ulster for the upcoming two seasons.
23-year-old, Sean Reffell, will join Ulster from Saracens, where
he was awarded the Young Player of the Season award for
2020/21. The Irish-qualified back row also holds the Saracens
record for most tackles in a game, with 39 tackles made in the
Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final versus Worcester in 2019.
Known for his impressive work-rate, the former England U20s
openside has made 40 appearances for his current club since a
debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November 2017.
The Tipperary-born ten, having produced a stand-out
performance for the 2019 Grand Slam-winning Ireland U20s,
is no stranger to those following young talent in Irish rugby.
Having started his rugby career in the club game at Kilfeacle
& District RFC, Flannery went on to play schools rugby at
Rockwell College and made his Munster A debut in the Celtic
Cup and All Ireland League debut with Shannon RFC in the
A place in the Munster Academy followed in the summer of
2019, with his Guinness PRO14 debut off the bench for Munster
away to Zebre coming in February 2020.
The 22-year-old fly-half, who has gone on to earn a further 6
caps for Munster, will join Ulster on a 1-year deal.
Frank Bradshaw Ryan
Shea O’Brien (Development)
The full-back, who claimed the Player of the Match award
whilst helping City of Armagh to secure victory in the Bank
of Ireland Senior Cup in March 2020, is no stranger to awards
having also been named the 2019/20 Ken Goodall Club Player
of the Year in the Ulster Rugby Domestic Rugby Awards.
With an impressive skillset gained through his involvement in
the club game at City of Armagh RFC from Minis level through
to competing in the AIL, as well as being a talented GAA
footballer, O’Brien will be joining the Senior Men’s set-up this
coming pre-season, alongside completing his medicine degree
at Queens University Belfast.
O’Brien’s Development contract follows on from his starting
role in Ulster’s Development Inter-Pro fixtures versus Leinster
and Munster last season, as well as putting in a try-scoring
performance against Connacht Eagles, and more recently
against Munster ‘A’ last month. O’Brien has put pen to paper
for a one-year development contract.
26-year-old Limerick-born Bradshaw Ryan, who stands at
over 2m tall, is set to bolster the province’s second row when
he makes the move from French Pro D2 side, USON Nevers.
Known for his lineout skills and ability to carry, the Munster sub-
Academy graduate, and former Ireland U19s player, will also
bring the leadership skills he has honed over the last six years
in France. The second row will join Ulster on a one-year deal.
Jude Postlethwaite (Development)
Former RBAI pupil, 20-year-old, Jude Postlethwaite, was the
leading try-scorer in the Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Cup in
2020, earning him a nomination for the competition’s Player
of the Year. The young back line player joined the Ulster
Rugby Academy in 2021 having already featured in the Ireland
Under-20 Six Nations squad and represented Ireland at Sevens.
The Lisburn native, who has also enjoyed success as part of the
Ulster ‘A’ squad, is known for his physicality and pace, and he
will continue to bring this to the province with a new deal that
sees him sign a Development contract next season, followed
by a 3-year Senior contract. (Stats on page 46)
Your favourite 2021/22 Ulster Kit:
Do you have any habits/rituals before a
Rob: Arrive at the stadium 2 hours before
Your least favourite drill in training:
Iain: Bronco Test
Rob: Breakdown Drills
Favourite try you’ve scored for Ulster?
Best player you have played with:
Iain: Ruan Pienaar
Rob: Charles Piutau
Apart from Rugby, what other sports are
you interested in?:
Iain: Just rugby
Rob: Formula 1
What is the one thing you can’t live
Most used app on your phone:
Iain: First try for Ulster v Munster
Iain: BBC News app
Rob: Against Northampton Saints at home
EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE FROM ULSTER RUGBY
Click and collect available
SHOP OPENING HOURS
9am-5pm Tuesday to Friday
If you were stuck on a desert island,
which teammate would you want to be
Rob: Hendy (Iain) – He has always got
something interesting to talk about.
An Inter-Pro with Extra Spice!
Well, this is really when the stakes are
highest, when a season is defined by
tangible success or ends in disappointment.
For Ulster, this has been a year when
supporters have been on a roller-coaster
of emotions, with the pandemic taking
its toll at critical moments in terms of
postponed games, and players and staff
side-lined by Covid.
Yet, the inaugural Ulster Rugby
Championship and Heineken Champions
Cup programmes were somehow navigated
until the crowds came rolling back into
stadia, a sort of ‘normal’ restored, if with
Ulster’s rugby has been of an impressively
high standard, the entertainment quotient
great, the ‘highs’ – particularly in Europe –
uplifting for fans, players and management.
Any year when Clermont, Toulouse
and Leinster have been outplayed and
outthought cannot be other than a measure
of the sustained improvement in Head
Coach Dan McFarland’s squad.
Tonight, familiar opposition arrives at
Kingspan Stadium, regarded inter-pro rivals
for the ages, but Munster is keenly aware
that a quarter-final in the URC is a meeting
of a different order.
The very last big prize is in sight, the
competition so strengthened with the arrival
of the four South African powerhouses –
the Stormers, Lions, Sharks and Bulls – has
rewritten a well-worn, even tired, script.
Like the hosts, the visitors went deep in
Europe and, ironically, had an even more
deflating exit in the Champions Cup
when losing its quarter-final to Toulouse
in a bizarre place kicking shoot-out at
In that strange two-legged format of the
Round of 16, Ulster lost to the same French
opponents by a single point on aggregate.
If those games were the sole indicators
of form for tonight’s clash, then only the
truly bewildered would venture a confident
prediction for which club will progress to
the semi-finals of the URC!
Not that the two men at the top of the
respective coaching teams will allow focus
on anything other than the intriguing game,
the last in Belfast in this exhausting season.
‘One game at a time’ is the mantra the
public expects and accepts from those in
sport, but supporters can be forgiven for
having an eye on the glittering prospect just
three more matches could offer.
It’s now a tiresome but sadly repeated
truism that while Munster has won PRO12
and PRP14 titles, been a constant successful
force in Europe, the tantalising reward of
a trophy in league or in the Europe has
eluded Ulster. Those with long memories
know that David Humphreys’ geometry
contrived a Celtic League triumph in 2006
when Mark McCall, now perhaps the most
coveted coach in Europe, was in charge at
Ravenhill. Too long.
But this is a different age, different players
and many differences in the way the game
is played and officiated. Nevertheless, the
notion of a world-class performer like Iain
Henderson, flanked by Rob Herring, Billy
Burns, Rob Baloucoune, Duane Vermeulen,
Stuart McCloskey and others, hoisting
the URC Cup aloft is one which, made
real, would spark the most astonishing
celebrations - and relief – literally and
psychologically in the Ulster Rugby family.
McFarland has had many targets in his
three-year tenure, and who would argue
that he has achieved in so many areas: the
strength of his squad and management, the
clear development of individual skillsets
and the nurturing of younger talent into
players of international quality.
But it’s almost impossible to imagine that
a Head Coach whose fierce intelligence
understands the demands of the modern
game has not also prioritised winning a
trophy in the major competitions. He has
spoken often of the momentum created
by winning individual games and he would
also know that silverware in Ulster Rugby
HQ would and should set a standard where
such achievements are the short and longterm
His opposite number tonight at Kingspan
Stadium, Johann van Graan, has guided
Munster through a period of very real
transformation. The club’s rich history as
winners has kept it competitive but in need
of an infusion of new ideas and players, and
following Rassie Erasmus’s sudden exit, and
with the loss of that wonderful man Anthony
Foley still casting a long shadow, van Graan
has stabilised the ship at Thomond Park.
But he too is leaving his post early, Bath
his destination next season, and his
successor Graham Rowntree is building
a new coaching team which, in the shape
of Mike Prendergast, Dennis Leamy and
Any Kyriacou, will very probably forge a
quite different style than that of van Graan,
Stephen Larkham and JP Ferreira.
On the pitch the players who’ll be asked to
take their clubs one step closer to a trophy
in a very long season will be excited by
the game in front of a raucous Kingspan
Stadium crowd, with Ulster hoping the fans
will be persistently vocal in urging their side
to what would be the first win over Munster
in three outings since last autumn.
Stuart McCloskey will carry much of the
midfield responsibility, and he’ll be well
aware of the powerful carrying and tackling
of another Ireland international centre,
Chris Farrell, once of this parish.
Michael Lowry’s absence means McFarland
can shuffle his gifted backline pool,
with Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle or Ethan
McIlroy comfortable in the No.15 shirt at
the highest level.
The half-back duels will be fascinating,
with Joey Carbery back in the Ireland fold
acutely aware of Billy Burns’ superb game
management, and the Ulster out-half is not
bout of the international picture by any
means. At scrumhalf both sides are spoiled,
Munster able to call on the enduring Conor
Murray or Craig Casey, while John Cooney
and Nathan Doak bring excellence and
variety to the position.
in his distinguished career, will set Ulster
problems and be at the heart of the
visitors’ defensive systems, and a threat
at the breakdown with the energy which
belies his years.
As in every rugby game, the shape of the
eighty minutes, and the result, will depend
on the outcome of the forward battle. Tom
O’Toole can once more enhance his Irish
credentials at prop, with the combative and
thoughtful hooker Rob Herring will possibly
renew his international pecking order rivalry
with Niall Scannell.
Jean Kleyn and Alan O’Connor are likely to
demonstrate their physicality in the lineout
and the scrummage and dotted around the
pitch are familiar high-class names.
Henderson is invaluable to Ulster and to
his country as a lock forward with a rugby
intellect all too rare, while Peter O’Mahony,
astonishingly playing as well as any time
Yes, it is an inter-pro with an extra serving of
spice. It could be the most compelling match
staged in Belfast this year, so important are
the rewards, so positive and well-coached
are these two fabled rivals.
This encounter merits a wonderful occasion
this Friday evening, Munster will certainly
bring its diehard army and attempt to
match the roar, persistent and unyielding,
which has been the hallmark of the Ulster
supporter who craves success.
This is truly the final furlong, the pace
is unrelenting and the physical and
mental demands on the players, coaches,
management and the all-important
It feels that Ulster’s time might have come.
Help that happen.
NEW CAPSULE RANGE
NEW SEASON HOME KIT
Click and collect available
EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE FROM ULSTER RUGBY
Click and collect available
SHOP OPENING HOURS
9am-5pm Tuesday to Friday
SHOP OPENING HOURS
9am-5pm Tuesday to Friday
Based at Kingspan Stadium along with the
senior squad, the aim of the Ulster Rugby
Academy is to develop rugby talent to
reach their potential and perform to URC,
European and international standards.
ADEMY Postlethwaite ACADEMY Rankin
ADEMY 193cm ACADEMY
ADEMY - ACADEMY
Alan O’Connor named 2021-22
URC Tackle Machine Award winner
The Ulster lock has scooped the Tackle
Machine prize, kicking off three weeks of
announcements in the build-up to the URC
The Tackle Machine prize was awarded
using URC StatMaster data provided by
Tackle Machine: Alan O’Connor
“I am proud to have won the 2021/22 URC
Tackle Machine award. It’s been a great
season, and the team and I are really
looking forward to this weekend’s Quarter
Final against Munster. It’s going to be a
brilliant atmosphere on Friday night at
This award is given to the player who
boasts the best tackle success rate among
those who have attempted 150 or more
over the course of the campaign.
Alan O’Connor takes home the prize having
made 195 tackles at a success rate of 97.5%.
The lock’s figure saw him finish ahead
of the Ospreys’ Will Griffiths (96.17%),
Connacht’s Jarrad Butler (95.29%) and
the Dragons’ Ollie Griffiths (94.92%) while
Ulster team-mate Nick Timoney – the man
who has made the most tackles in the URC
this season (247) - rounded off the top five
with a rate of 94.64%.
Rugby World Cup 2023
Ireland Match Breaks
Thu 17 Mar, 3pm | Kingspan Stadium
USRFR New Referee Course
Sat 20 Aug, 10am-4pm | Newforge Sports Complex
in the game
A great way to
make new friends
what level could
Help us create the networks that bring people together.
We will provide all the training and support you need to
kick start your career and get where you want to go.
no Referee = no
Ulster Rugby &
You will receive
training & support
Apply today by scanning the QR code or searching
‘Openreach apprentice engineer Northern Ireland’
If interested, please contact:
Referee Development Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 07493 868 388
Ulster Rugby thanks Departing Players
With a combined total of over 250
caps for the province, Ulster Rugby
has paid tribute to the contribution
made by the Senior Men’s players
leaving at the end of
Since joining Ulster in the summer of 2019,
prop Jack McGrath has made his presence
felt within the province both on and off the
pitch. With 140 appearances for Leinster
under his belt when he arrived in Belfast,
the Dubliner went on to play as an Ulster
man on 24 occasions, with injury curtailing
how many times he has pulled on the white
McGrath, who is about to undergo further
medical treatment, will continue his
rehab and journey back to full fitness as a
professional player in the months ahead. Of
his time with Ulster, he said:
“A big thanks goes to Ulster Rugby and
the coaches during my time in Belfast.
My team-mates became close friends and I
will always value those friendships.
“I will miss the incredible support of the
Ulster fans, it’s a great feeling running out
at Kingspan Stadium as a home player, and
it’s a shame I can’t get the opportunity to
“As for the future, I’m now a free agent and
I have no intention of retiring. I face months
of rehabbing in my battle for full fitness, but
I am surrounded by a top-class team who
will ensure I am in great shape to return to
play. I am fully committed to becoming the
first player in any sport to play at an elite
level with two hip resurfacing operations.”
New-Zealand born, Sean Reidy, will return to
his home country at the end of the season.
A stalwart of the club for the last eight
years, the Ireland-capped flanker recently
made his 150th appearance for Ulster when
the club claimed a historic away win over
ASM Clermont Auvergne. Reidy, one of
Ulster’s top tacklers since a winning debut
in 2014 for the Senior side, said:
“I want to thank everyone at Ulster for
making this place feel like home over the
past eight years. It has been a privilege
to represent the province and to have the
opportunity to play for Ireland. Belfast has
felt like home these past years, and we
have made lifelong friendships. I leave this
place with only good memories.”
Meanwhile, David O’Connor, who joined
Ulster from All-Ireland League club,
Lansdowne, in the summer of 2019 on a
Development contract, has already enjoyed
a successful stint at Ealing Trailfinders after
joining the London club on loan earlier
this season. On his 15 appearances for the
province, and playing alongside brother
Alan O’Connor, he said:
“I made some incredible memories and
friendships along the way. To be able to
have played professionally with Alan was
not just extremely special for me, but for
my whole family. Something that will be
hard to beat. Thanks to everyone in Ulster
from the players and coaches to the staff
that made my time so enjoyable. All the
best to the club and everyone in the future.”
Hailing from Bangor, prop Ross Kane started
playing rugby for Donaghadee RFC minis,
and attended Methodist College Belfast
where he captained the 2013 Schools’ Cup
winning side. He was part of the Ireland U20
squad at the 2017 Six Nations, and made
his senior Ulster debut during the 2016/17
season, going on to make 60 appearances
for the province. A move for Kane to Ealing
Trailfinders was confirmed earlier this week,
and when reflecting on his time with Ulster,
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all
of the players and staff at Ulster Rugby that
have helped me during my time here.
“Naturally it is a tough decision to leave your
home club, but the time is right for me to
move on and progress my career elsewhere.
“Over the eight years that I’ve spent at
Ulster, there have been an incredible
amount of highlights on and off the field
with an amazing group of players.
“I want to wish the club the best of luck for
the future. I have no doubt that they will
achieve something special which will be
After progressing to a pro-contact last year,
Bradley Roberts has continued to impress
with his work-rate, on and off the pitch.
Since making his debut for Wales back in
November, when they played South Africa,
the South African born, but Welsh qualified
Hooker, attracted the attention of the
Dragons, and so will be taking up residency
at Rodney Parade next season.
Completing the leavers is Mick Kearney,
who joined Ulster on a short-term deal
this season. A strong line-out operator, as
proven with a combined total of over 150
appearances for Connacht, Leinster and
Zebre, he brought a depth of experience to
the second row over his 9 appearances for
the club. Kearney said:
“Ulster is a good club, full of good people,
working hard to achieve a common goal. I
feel very lucky to have had the opportunity
to be a part of this group for the last twelve
months, and I’ve no doubt there’s big days
ahead for the club.”
Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said:
“Thank-you for all that they
have given to the Ulster
jersey over the years.
“They can all leave proud
in the knowledge that they
have each made a significant
contribution to our province,
and the journey we are on as
a squad – and I wish them
the very best for the future
on behalf of all the players
and staff at the club.”
Reduce the Risk
SPIRIT OF ‘99
RAVENHILL PARK GARDENS
and cover coughs
and respectful of
ABBEY AUTOLINE FAMILY STAND
A&L GOODBODY LOUNGE / VIP BOXES
We are passionate
in our support
We are silent during kicks
We respect the match
The Food Village will be in operation,
serving a variety of cuisines, while the Cool
FM Crew will provide the soundtrack for
All five public bars will also be in operation,
with live entertainment in the Clubhouse Bar.
Audio descriptive match commentary to
enhance the match experience for people
affected by sight or hearing loss will be
Earpieces can be collected from the admin
building reception prior to the game, or
you can book your equipment by calling
Jen on (028) 9049 3222.
We do not tolerate
abusive or discriminatory
We respect opposition
We are mindful
of our language
The Kukri Store will be open from gates
open until 30 minutes after full-time.
The activity centre for our Junior Season
Ticket holders will not be in operation for
Ulster Rugby wish to thank all of our sponsors
and partners for their continued support.
Official On-kit Sponsors
Follow the laws
of the game
Accept the referee’s
Win with humility,
lose with dignity
Remember who you
Please be respectful
of players’ abilities
Keep your language
Zero tolerance for
abuse / harassment
Play fair and
Lead by example
Value volunteer referees