Joyce to lead Irish side

PADRAIC JOYCE is to captain the Irish team after all in the upcoming International Rules Series against Australia in Croke Park.

Two weeks ago it was announced he would be unavailable to play because he needed surgery on a recurring leg injury, but at the weekend he made a dramatic comeback with Killererin in the Galway county football final. Joyce was watched by one of the selectors, John Tobin, who said yesterday he had been impressed by his form in their county final win.

Joyce had trained with his club last week and was with the international squad at a session over the weekend, but didn't train. However, he is expected to get back to full-time training this week and take full part in a squad session on Friday night.

Manager Pete McGrath is due to announce his panel for the two-test series on October 17 and 24 next Monday.

Ireland's chances of winning have been given a boost following mass withdrawals from the Australia squad.

Nine players have pulled out of the squad in the last few weeks, including would-be captain Mark Riccuito, Leo Barry and Jason Akermanis.

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