Saturday 21 April 2018

Kernan will make last minute decision on International Rules trio hit by stomach bug

7 November 2017; Manager Joe Kernan during Ireland International Rules squad training at Wesley College, St Kilda Road Complex, Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
7 November 2017; Manager Joe Kernan during Ireland International Rules squad training at Wesley College, St Kilda Road Complex, Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The sick bay at the Irish team hotel in Adelaide is a little less crowded but doubts persist over how much involvement the three players who were hit by a stomach bug will have in tomorrow’s International Rules test with Australia.

Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast & Mayo), Niall Murphy (Sligo) and Enda Smith (Roscommon) are all recovering well but with temperatures expected to hit 34 degrees (throw-in 5.10am Irish time), it will be a difficult environment for players who were struck down since Thursday.

“Two of the lads are feeling a whole lot better and hopefully by tomorrow they will be doing really well. We think they will all play at some stage. It might not be what we wanted but we’re hoping they will be able to take part,” said Irish manager, Joe Kernan.

It’s understood that Smith remains the biggest doubt.

Irish captain Aidan O’Shea said that having three players ill in a squad of 23 was ‘not ideal’  but it was a matter of dealing with it and moving on.

“There’s another 24 hours to go and hopefully the boys will be able to participate, if not fully, then in some capacity,” he said.

Kernan and O’Shea met their counterparts, Chris Scott and Shaun Burgoyne on the bridge alongside the Adelaide Oval for a final press conference before what will be the 41st Ireland-Australia clash.

Kernan cancelled a planned final run-out yesterday, opting instead to allow his players rest up.

“The boys have done a good bit of work. We had a very good session the other day in the heat. There’s no sense in wearing people out - we’ll save what we have for tomorrow,” he said.

Scott is delighted with the quality of his squad and while they have had little time together, he believes their natural talents will help them overcome specific challenges, including playing with a round ball.

“When you’ve got the best players involved, often the best coaching system is just to get out of the way and let them do their stuff. Clearly playing with the round ball is a challenge but we’ve been surprised by how well the guys are kicking it,” he said.

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