Two spots still up for grabs on Kernan's Rules squad
Ireland International Rules manager Joe Kernan has left two places up for grabs in his squad after Cork's Paul Kerrigan and Tyrone's AFL starlet Conor McKenna were forced to pull out of next month's trip Down Under.
Kerrigan pulled out due to club commitments after Nemo Rangers won the Cork title and gear up for an assault on Munster while McKenna injured his ankle. Their unavailability meant that at yesterday's squad announcement in Croke Park, Kernan named just 21 of his 23-strong squad, with the remaining two spots to be filled after the weekend.
However, Kernan hinted that the two places wouldn't necessarily be filled from his seven-strong standby list which was also revealed yesterday.
"I don't know, to be honest. I'm in the process... I want to have the match tonight (Wednesday) to see how we do there and if not we might look for somebody out there. There's two or three other boys out there that would be chomping at the bit to be honest."
absence In all, 14 different counties from all four provinces are represented in the initial 21 names. However, the squad is notable for the absence of a representative from the three-in-a-row-winning Dublin side.
"Obviously you'd love to have them but (look at) the quality of players we have. Hopefully we'll show that when we go out; every Irish team always puts a big effort in.
"We've Michael Murphy that didn't play the last time and has been injured for a while. He's like a child in a toy shop at the moment! He's just a colossus and then we've Aidan (O'Shea), Conor McManus and Paul Geaney. All these boys - and Gary Brennan who was a star the last time as well as Brendan Harrison and Chris Barrett; there were a few other Mayo boys who I asked but who had injury problems, Lee Keegan, Andy Moran, Colm Boyle, Tom Parsons.
"There's nothing you can do about that. Some boys just need a break. It's unfortunate for them and they had to look after number one, themselves, but we had to go on with what we have."
Ireland face Australia in the first Test in Adelaide Sunday, November 12 with the second Test taking place the following Saturday in Perth.
IRELAND PROVISIONAL PANEL (v Australia) - N Morgan (Edendork/Tyrone), C Barrett (Belmullet/Mayo), G Brennan (Clondegad/Clare), E Cadogan (Douglas/Cork), K Clarke (Shercock/Cavan), P Crowley (Laune Rangers/Kerry), K Feely (Athy/Kildare), P Geaney (Dingle/Kerry), P Hanley (Gold Coast/Ballaghadereen - Mayo), B Harrison (Aghamore/Mayo), C McManus (Clontibret/Monaghan), M Murphy (Glenswilly/Donegal), N Murphy (Collera-Strandhill /Sligo), P Murphy (Rathmore/Kerry), K O'Connell (Tyholland/Monaghan), A O'Shea (Breaffy/Mayo), N Sludden (Dromore/Tyrone), E Smith (Boyle/Roscommon), C Sweeney (Ballyporeen/Tipperary), Z Tuohy (Geelong/Portlaoise - Laois), S Walsh (Kilkerrin-Clonberne/Galway).