Ireland release three Connacht players back to their squad ahead of Dragons game

Kieran Marmion, Ultan Dillane and Finlay Bealham will start Connacht's game on the bench

ireland, connacht, rugby, six nations, dragons

Ultan Dillane and Finlay Bealham Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Ireland international Kieran Marmion and the uncapped duo of Ultan Dillane and Finlay Bealham have been released by the Ireland squad. The trio have returned to the Connacht squad ahead of their game against Dragons on Friday night.

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made three personnel changes from the starting XV that lined out in the defeat of Scarlets in the last round of PRO12 action. AJ MacGinty will make his fifth start in a Connacht jersey this season, replacing the injured Jack Carty at outhalf.

Meanwhile, Bundee Aki shifts to outside centre to facilitate the introduction of Craig Ronaldson in the number 12 shirt and the only change to the pack sees Rodney Ah You come into the front row.

Galway-born back row Eoin McKeon has returned from injury to earn a place on the bench while Academy centre Peter Robb is named among the substitute backs.

Lam has spoken of his delight at having Marmion, Dillane and Bealham return to the squad and expects the Welsh side to provide a stern test on Friday night.

"The Dragons are in good form and are playing some great team rugby. It's clear for us to see that they are a different side to the one we faced at the Sportsground in Round 1. They have already beaten our fellow Irish provinces Munster and Leinster at Rodney Parade and were desperately unlucky to lose in the final minute to Ulster in Belfast last week."

Connacht team to face Dragons:

(15-9): Tiernan O'Halloran, Danie Poolman, Bundee Aki, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy, AJ MacGinty, Caolin Blade. 

(1-8): Denis Buckley,  Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You, George Naoupu, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon (capt), Jake Heenan, Eoghan Masterson.

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, Kieran Marmion, Peter Robb,  Rory Parata.