| 14.4°C Dublin

Club commitments scupper Cooper's International interests

IT stands to reason that Gaelic football's most celebrated player would represent his country whenever the chance presents itself but Colm Cooper hasn't had the most enjoyable experiences with International Rules.

"Two-thousand-and-five was just completely . . . some of the behaviour was ridiculous," he recalls of his last Ireland caps in Perth and Melbourne amid the height of the hybrid game's disciplinary troubles.

"I remember Philip Jordan being clothes-lined. There was some ridiculous stuff going on. I was saying to myself, 'why be involved?'

"The Australians were going out, they were just killing Irish guys, professional guys, there was no penalty for it. They couldn't be fined. They weren't suspended. So there was license for a bit of thuggery if you want to go on with that.

"In the GAA most of the time you could get a hard hit or whatever, but these guys were going out to physically hurt you, it just didn't appeal to me."

For all that, Cooper has noticed a cultural change with regard to the violence which marred and even threatened the series around the time and admitted he was "half-interested" in declaring for Ireland this year and spoke to manager Paul Earley, only for his club commitments to prevent him ending his international hiatus.

Earley announced his provisional panel for the match day 23 for Saturday's first Test against Australia in Breffni Park – and all three Dubs have made the cut.

Paul Flynn – who plays for Fingallians in the Dublin Intermediate final tomorrow – Ciarán Kilkenny and Jack McCaffrey will all play some part on Saturday night after the GAA confirmed the final list to take on the Aussies at the Cavan venue.

Michael Murphy, whose club, Glenswilly, play Killybegs in the Donegal senior football final less than 24 hours after the first test, heads the list as team captain.

Kildare's John Doyle misses out, however, as do John Heslin of Westmeath, Darren Hughes of Monaghan, Wexford's Daithí Waters, Tyrone 'keeper Niall Morgan and 2011 vice-captain, Ciarán McKeever.

McKeever had been expected to make himself unavailable for the first test owing to his club, Cullyhanna's presence in the Armagh final against Crossmaglen Rangers next Sunday.

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL RULES PANEL: Michael Murphy (capt), Paddy McBrearty, Neil McGee (all Donegal), Aidan Walsh (vice-capt), Ciarán Sheehan, Michael Sheilds (all Cork), Paddy O'Rourke (Meath), Zach Touhy (Carlon Blues & Laois )Colm Begley, Ross Munnelly (all Laois), Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan, Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O'Shea (all Mayo), Seán Cavanagh (Tyrone), Finian Hanley, Paul Conroy (both Galway), Ciarán Kilkenny, Paul Flynn, Jack McCaffrey (all Dublin), Chrissy McKeigue (Derry), Conor McManus (Monaghan), Ciarán Byrne (Louth).


Privacy