IRELAND manager Joe Kernan has announced an impressive line-up of newly crowned football All-Star award winners for duty in the upcoming EirGrid International Rules test against Australia.
The Ireland management were in Croke Park today to unveil their match day panel of 23 players for the November 21st test – with an additional eight players listed on standby in the event of injury.
Fresh from being named Footballer of the Year last Friday night, wing back Jack McCaffrey from the Clontarf club in Dublin is one of nine All-Stars selected by Kernan, and is joined by fellow members of the elite playing class of 2015 in Mattie Donnelly, Lee Keegan, Philip McMahon, Conor McManus, Rory O’Carroll, Aidan O’Shea, Donnchadh Walsh and Ireland team captain Bernard Brogan.
After a season that saw them win all four competitions that they competed for in 2015 namely O’Byrne Cup, Allianz Football League, Leinster Championship and the All-Ireland, it is no surprise to see Dublin top the list of representatives with five Dubs selected, and 2014 All-Star Diarmuid Connolly joins McCaffrey, Brogan, McMahon and O’Carroll in the Irish squad.
Over the last ten weeks a total of 70 players have been involved in training and trial matches before the panel was whittled down and the Irish squad will have five of the six All-Star forwards who were unveiled last week available.
Ireland boss Joe Kernan is confident that he has assembled a strong squad capable of competing with the Australians.
Kiernan said: “We’ve been delighted with the response and the hard work put in by players from all over the country in the last eight weeks in a bid to represent Ireland.
“Unfortunately injuries and club commitments have ruled some players out, but I am happy that we have still managed to assemble a very strong squad and it was a difficult job to reduce numbers down to the squad and the standby list.
“Both the players and the management are really looking forward to this EirGrid International Rules test.
“The fact that the Australians are sending over such a strong team of players means that we will have to up our game if we are to take those boys on and that’s exactly what we are planning to do.”
In all, there are 12 counties from across all four provinces represented in the match day 23 and the county breakdown is Dublin (5), Tyrone (3), Laois, Kildare, Cork, Monaghan, Mayo (2 each), Clare, Tipperary, Longford, Kerry and Donegal (1 each).
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail paid tribute to those selected and said:
“Congratulations to all of our players who have made the final cut following what has been an extremely thorough process.
“The honour of representing Ireland is a rare one for a Gaelic footballer and I have no doubt that those selected will relish the prospect, pitting themselves against the best of the AFL.
“I wish Joe Kernan and his backroom team every success and I trust that the Irish public will turn out in force to support their efforts to bring home the Cormac McAnallen Cup.
“Finally, a special word of thanks to series sponsors EirGrid, for the role in promoting the Test and we look forward to the visit of the touring Australian party.”
Commenting on the team announcement Rosemary Steen of EirGrid said; “On behalf of EirGrid I would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the 23 players who have been announced on the team today.
“It is a testament to the level of footballing talent throughout the country to have such a widespread number of counties represented on this national side. We wish Joe and all the players the very best in their final weeks of training before taking on one of the strongest teams to ever travel from Australia on 21st November in Croke Park.”
Tickets for the game at Croke Park are available from gaa.ie/tickets and from selected outlets and are priced at €25 for adults and €5 for Under 16s.
Throw-in on Saturday week is at 7.0 and the game will be preceded by the Hurling Shinty international between Ireland and Scotland.
There will also be a commemoration to mark the 95th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
IRELAND SQUAD FOR EirGrid INTERNATIONAL RULES TEST WITH AUSTRALIA, November 21
1 Niall Morgan (Tyrone)
2 Colm Begley (Laois)
3 Gary Brennan (Clare)
4 Bernard Brogan (Dublin) CAPT.
5 Eoin Cadogan (Cork)
9 Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone)
10 Eoin Doyle (Kildare)
11 Peter Harte (Tyrone)
13 Darren Hughes (Monaghan)
15 Lee Keegan (Mayo) VICE CAPT.
17 Paul Kerrigan (Cork)
19 Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)
20 Ciarán McDonald (Tipperary)
22 Philip McMahon (Dublin)
23 Conor McManus (Monaghan)
25 Rory O’Carroll (Dublin)
26 John O’Loughlin (Laois)
28 Aidan O’Shea (Mayo)
29 Michael Quinn (Longford)
31 Donnchadh Walsh (Kerry)
33 Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin)
34 Paul Cribbin (Kildare)
35 Paddy Mc Brearty (Donegal)
STAND BY PLAYERS:
16 Paddy O’Rourke (Meath)
6 Killian Clarke (Cavan)
7 Ray Connellan (Westmeath)
14 Kieran Hughes (Monaghan)
21 Gearoid McKiernan (Cavan)
24 Dessie Mone (Monaghan)
27 Colm O’Neill (Cork)
30 Enda Smith (Roscommon)