O’Keeffe lists irish panel

JOHN O’KEEFFE unveiled his preliminary panel for this October’s International Rules Series against Australia yesterday but it was absent friends and doubtful participants that dominated the agenda at the press conference in Croke Park.

Derry’s Sean Martin Lockhart is a definite non starter for the Irish due to an injury picked up in championship action this year and Meath’s Cormac Sullivan will also miss out as he is due to be married this autumn.

Dublin’s Ciaran Whelan is also due a trip down the aisle in the next few months, but O’Keeffe is hoping the powerful midfielder will be available for the two tests with the tourists.

However, the biggest talking point was possibly the non appearance of one ‘A. Tohill’.

It was left to O’Keeffe to explain the reason behind the Derryman’s decision not to make himself available.

“In fairness to Anthony he has been a terrific servant of this team and he went to the heights last year of being captain and winning the series in Australia was the pinnacle for him and I suppose he feels that he’s had enough. Fair enough, that’s OK with me.”

Surprisingly, Meath’s Graham Geraghty does find his name listed, despite his decision to announce his retirement from the inter county game following Meath’s championship exit against Donegal in July.

O’Keeffe has asked players to notify Croke Park as to whether they are willing to join the panel or not and he is hopeful that Geraghty will be among those phoning.

“I tried to get in touch with him (on Tuesday) and it’s open for him. He’s spoken about retirement but he’s a young man and he has plenty left ü he has plenty to offer. I would leave the door open for him. I’m hoping that he’ll stay with us, but it’s definitely his decision. I feel with an Irish team that the quality is so good at the highest level that you really want people who are going to come in and be committed,” O’Keeffe said.

Full squad: K. McGeeney, P. McGrane (Armagh), G. Canty, C. Corkery, B. J. O’Sullivan (Cork), F. Doherty (Derry), B. Devenney, J. Gildea, A. Sweeney (Donegal), A. Brogan, S. Cluxton, C. Goggins, C. Moran, C. Whelan (Dublin), J. Bergin, M. Donnellan, G. Fahy, J. Fallon, P. Joyce, D. Meehan, D. Savage (Galway), S. Moynihan, D. O’Keefe, T. Kennelly, M. McCarthy, D. O’Se, T. O’Se (Kerry), D. Earley, A. Rainbow (Kildare), S. Lucey, J. Galvin (Limerick), P. Barden (Longford), M. Stansfield (Louth), P. Burke, J. Gill, D. Heaney (Mayo), D. Fay, G. Geraghty, T. Giles, E. Kelly (Meath), C. Daly, C. McManus (Offaly), E. O’Hara (Sligo), D. Browne (Tipperary), P. Canavan, B. Dooher, C. Holmes, C. McAnallen, S. O’Neill, B. McMenaman (Tyrone), D. Dolan (Westmeath), M. Forde (Wexford).

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