Saturday 24 March 2018

Rules squad in chaos as club championships cast doubt on Ireland stars

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

THE International Rules management were scrambling yesterday to preserve the prospects of seven of their 23-man squad travelling to Australia this weekend after club results cast doubt over their involvement in the series.

The Irish squad are due to fly out to Australia on Saturday, but at least five of the confirmed squad won't be travelling with the main party because of club commitments.

There was success with two of the seven about whom doubts were raised, when the Ulster Council rearranged their provincial club championship fixture list to accommodate Kevin McKernan and Michael Murphy.

Murphy's Glenswilly had a surprise win over Cavan Gaels in the Ulster preliminary round, while Burren claimed the Down title on Saturday night earning them a place in the Ulster quarter-finals.

However, the Ulster Council moved quickly to put the quarter-finals between Glenswilly and Latton and Burren and Roslea back by two weeks. They will now be played on November 13 -- the same day as the first semi-final between Crossmaglen or St Gall's and Dromore/Clonoe or Ballinderry.

Parnells' Dublin quarter-final against Ballymun Kickhams on Saturday has raised doubts over captain Stephen Cluxton and Laois player Colm Begley.

Begley has confirmed that he will be staying if Parnells win, but the position regarding Cluxton has yet to be firmly established.

The facility to fly out on Sunday and join the rest of the squad on Monday evening in Melbourne was made in Croke Park yesterday.

Wicklow's Leighton Glynn is also in a dilemma after Rathnew drew with St Patrick's in the Wicklow semi-final on Sunday.

The replay has been fixed for Saturday evening, but Wicklow PRO Pat Mitchell stressed yesterday that no decision on when the final will be played will be made until after the semi-final result is known.

The Wicklow champions are not due to play the Louth champions or Portlaoise in a Leinster quarter-final until November 20.

Former Irish vice-captain Finian Hanley is also in a quandary after Salthill-Knocknacarra's draw with Tuam Stars in Sunday's Galway semi-final. A Saturday replay would give Hanley the option of flying out on Sunday if Salthill lost.

Darran O'Sullivan is resigned to not being involved with the Kerry County Board sticking by the October 30 date for their county final between his Mid Kerry divisional side and Dr Crokes, who have been in action for the last four weekends and won't be giving up a two-week break.

Irish Independent

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