DUBLIN ALL-IRELAND winners Stephen Cluxton, Bernard Brogan, Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O’Sullivan, along with Kerry’s Colm Cooper will all be unavailable for the Ireland squad for this year’s International Rules series.
Irish manager Paul Earley has confirmed that he will be without those leading lights for the two-test series against Australia in Kingspan Breffni Park on October 19th and Croke Park on October 26th.
“Stephen has ruled himself out. This year he just isn’t able to make the commitment. Bernard spoke to me a few weeks ago as well and he’s been carrying the knocks during the season. In his case, he needs a month off.
Cian O’Sullivan was a guy who was very keen but he’s got an injury at the moment. Michael Darragh MacAuley as well.”
Kerry attacker Cooper has previously expressed his disinterest in the hybrid series and has not featured for Ireland since 2005.
“To be fair to him (Cooper) we had a couple of conversations and he thought long and hard about it,” said Earley. “He’s decided his club is very important and they have ambitions to go a long way.
“I think he looked at the schedule of their games and they coincided with a couple of the Tests as well so on that basis he wasn’t able to make the commitment.”
Irish manager Paul Earley
Pic: INPHO/James Crombie
Earley confirmed that All-Ireland champions Dublin have representation in the current training panel in Ciaran Kilkenny, James McCarthy, Jack McCaffrey and Paul Flynn. While beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo have involvement in Aidan O’Shea, Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle and Kevin McLoughlin.
Carlton’s Zach Tuohy from Laois is the only Australian-based player set to be involved in the Irish squad.
“Zach is coming home at the weekend,” revealed Earley. “He’ll be joining us but he’s the only one. There’s a lot of Australian based players unavailable.
“Tommy Walsh has been injured, Marty Clarke is out of action and Pearse Hanley is not available this year.”
Earley admitted it is difficult to prepare given the club commitments currently facing Irish players.
“We’ll have the panel finalised by early next week. We’ve had a training squad in place for the last five weekends and we played a practice match again Wednesday night in Croke Park.
“We probably have up to 40 players and we’ll narrow that down closer to 30 next week. Given that there’s around 20 players still involved in club competition, it’s a bit difficult to pick 23 at this stage.
“We’ll have a practice match here in Cavan next weekend and we’ll have all the players involved in that. Then after that we’ll pick the final 23 for the two tests.”