Monday 27 January 2020

Farrell discards Kearney as he names his first training squad


Ireland head coach Andy Farrell. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Rob Kearney has become the first major causality of the Andy Farrell era with Ireland's new head coach opting to omit the veteran full-back from a 45-man group who will gather for a one-day camp in Dublin this weekend.

Kearney has lost his place in the Leinster team to in-form Jordan Larmour and his omission from the training squad suggests Farrell is looking to move on without the 33-year old.

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The Louth man will hope to see enough game time over the coming weeks in order to force his way back into the equation before Farrell names his first Six Nations squad in late January.

Other notable absentees from this weekend's camp include Jordi Murphy, Jack Carty and Sean Cronin, as well as injured players such as Tadhg Beirne, John Ryan and Kieran Marmion.

Farrell has called up eight uncapped players with Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade, Leinster's Ronan Kelleher, Caelan Doris, Max Deegan, Will Connors, Jamison Gibson-Park, and Ulster duo Billy Burns and Tom O'Toole all looking to make an impression.

Johnny Sexton is included despite being sidelined with a knee injury at present, adding to the widespread opinion that the Leinster out-half is to be installed as captain.

Sexton has been linked with a big-money move to Top 14 leaders Lyon, but is understood to be keen on seeing out his career with Leinster and Ireland.

There is also a welcome return to the squad for Devin Toner who was a surprise omission from the World Cup squad in Japan.

"We have limited opportunities across the busy provincial season to bring a broad group like this together but this 24-hour window will allow us to plant a few seeds," Farrell said.

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