Dublin's All-Ireland final hero Stephen Cluxton has been chosen to captain the Ireland team for the upcoming International Rules Series against Australia in Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
Cluxton is the only Dublin player included in the 18-man Irish squad which was announced today - five other players will be added to the travelling panel following a match against an Australian selection at Croke Park tomorrow.
The goalkeeper's selection as captain is a surprise given his reluctance to conduct press interviews and also his involvement with his club Parnells' campaign in the delayed Dublin SFC Championship. Vice-captain Ciarán McKeever from Armagh may well assist with the media duties.
Cluxton would face a dilemma if Parnells beat St. Sylvester's this weekend and qualify for a Dublin SFC quarter-final which is scheduled for the following weekend. Fellow Dubs Alan and Bernard Brogan, who were part of the original Ireland panel, have withdrawn due to club commitments.
Manager Anthony Tohill's decision to appoint Cluxton as captain makes him the first Ireland International Rules skipper from Dublin since John O'Leary led the side against Australia on home soil back in 1987.
The rest of the confirmed squad is along expected lines, with Sydney Swans stalwart Tadhg Kennelly, who recently announced his retirement from Aussie Rules, and Brisbane's Pearse Hanley awaiting their Ireland team-mates' arrival in Australia.
Tohill commented: "I would like to sincerely thank all on the panel who have trained extremely hard over the past number of weeks. The level of commitment has been exemplary.
"The strong interest shown amongst players demonstrates the enthusiasm for the game and the importance players place on representing their country."
Tohill will have the backing of selectors Eoin 'Bomber' Liston, Kevin O'Brien, Séan Óg de Paor and Kieran McGeeney as Ireland look to reclaim the Cormac McAnallen Cup.
The first Test will take place at the Etihad Stadium Melbourne on Friday, October 28, with the series decider pencilled in for the Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast a week later (Friday, November 4).
Captain: Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)
Vice-captain: Ciarán McKeever (Armagh)
Emmet Bolton (Kildare)
Eoin Cadogan (Cork)
Kieran Donaghy (Kerry)
Leighton Glynn (Wicklow)
Finian Hanley (Galway)
Pearse Hanley (Mayo/Brisbane Lions)
Darren Hughes (Monaghan)
Tadgh Kennelly (Kerry/Sydney Swans)
Steven McDonnell (Armagh)
Kevin McKernan (Down)
Joe McMahon (Tyrone)
Neil McGee (Donegal)
Michael Murphy (Donegal)
Darran O'Sullivan (Kerry)
Kevin Reilly (Meath)
Aidan Walsh (Cork)