Door shut on Madigan as Kidney opts for Jackson
IAN MADIGAN was the big loser when Ireland coach Declan Kidney named a 29-man panel for Sunday's Six Nations match against Scotland at Murrayfield.
The Leinster out-half produced an irresistible display in his side's weekend demolition of Treviso that left most observers sure he had done enough to guarantee his place in Kidney's latest squad.
But the Ireland coach has opted to keep faith with Ulster's Paddy Jackson as cover for Ronan O'Gara – set to start in the absence of the injured Jonny Sexton – leaving no place in the panel for Madigan.
Madigan kicked four from five conversions, ran the line well and showed an ability to break at critical junctures.
Jackson, however, is a clear favourite of the Ireland coaching staff. Indeed, the Ulster pivot was the only out-half in camp last Thursday.
Munster's James Coughlan is one of the players called into the squad. The back-row forward has been added as cover for Chris Henry, who suffered a knee injury in Ulster's game against Zebre, and is due to undergo a scan this morning.
Coughlan was a late inclusion in the squad that assembled at Carton House in the build-up to the championship and captained the Ireland Wolfhounds against the England Saxons in Galway last month.
Lewis Stevenson, Devin Toner and Luke Marshall, who suffered bruising to a thigh last Friday, are also included, with Marshall the favourite to partner Brian O'Driscoll in the centre against the Scots.
Connacht's Dave McSharry will complete the 30-man squad if he comes through medical assessment this morning, while one more back-row forward could also be added depending on Chris Henry's fitness.
IRELAND – Rory Best, Darren Cave, Tom Court, Sean Cronin, James Coughlan, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Declan Fitzpatrick, Craig Gilroy, Robin Henshaw, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Paddy Jackson, Rob Kearney, David Kilcoyne, Luke Marshall, Fergus McFadden, Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien, Donncha O'Callaghan, Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Peter O'Mahony, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Lewis Stevenson, Devin Toner.