Earley announces Ireland's International Rules squad

A total of 15 counties are represented in the 29-man squad today announced by Ireland team manager Paul Earley for the upcoming International Rules series against Australia.

Earley announces Ireland's International Rules squad

A total of 15 counties are represented in the 29-man squad today announced by Ireland team manager Paul Earley for the upcoming International Rules series against Australia.

The likes of Wexford's Daithi Waters, Westmeath's John Heslin and Ciaran Byrne from Louth have made the cut alongside more established names like Michael Murphy, who will captain Ireland in the two Tests on October 19 and 26, and Ciaran McKeever who was the vice-captain when Ireland lifted the Cormac McAnallen Cup in Australia two years ago.

From the 2011 panel that had a successful trip Down Under, there are only eight survivors in Earley's selected squad - Murphy, McKeever, Finian Hanley, Darren Hughes, Neil McGee, Aidan Walsh, Zach Tuohy and Colm Begley.

Corkman Walsh has been chosen as Ireland's vice-captain for the 2013 series, while Laois native Tuohy is the only Australian-based player available to Earley - Tommy Walsh, Marty Clarke and Pearse Hanley are all either injured or unavailable this time.

With Dublin's All-Ireland winning captain Stephen Cluxton another notable absentee due to injury (he skippered Ireland to victory in 2011 and also played in the 2010 series), the goalkeeper position will be filled by either Meath's Paddy O'Rourke or fit-again Tyrone stopper Niall Morgan.

All-Ireland runners-up Mayo have the most players involved, a quartet that includes powerhouse midfielder Aidan O'Shea and Footballer of the Year nominee Lee Keegan, with Paul Flynn, Ciarán Kilkenny and Young Footballer of the Year contender Jack McCaffrey representing All-Ireland champions Dublin.

Cork, Donegal and Laois also have three players on the squad list - the Rebels' contingent being completed by Ciaran Sheehan and Michael Shields - but some of the named players will miss out as the panel is expected to cut back next week ahead of the opening Test at Kingspan Breffni Park.

"We are delighted to be able to confirm our training panel for the upcoming series and training has really stepped up in recent weeks with the inclusion of players from both of the All-Ireland finalists," explained former Roscommon star Earley, who has taken over from Anthony Tohill as Ireland's manager.

"We have a great response from players both in coming to join the panel and in training and we are pleased with the progress made to date.

"Injury has prevented a number of players from making this panel but we are very pleased with the group of players we are working with and very much looking forward to the two games."

Earley also confirmed that Down's Kevin McKernan, a member of that successful Irish side in 2011, will not be involved this time despite featuring prominently in the training panel.

The Irish medical team advised that bruising to McKernan's knee was likely to be exacerbated by training for both his club side Burren and the International Rules panel.

IRELAND 2013 INTERNATIONAL RULES PANEL:

1. Paddy O'Rourke (Meath)

2. Colm Begley (Laois)

3. Colm Boyle (Mayo)

4. Ciaran Byrne (Louth)

5. Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone)

6. Paul Conroy (Galway)

7. John Doyle (Kildare)

8. Paul Flynn (Dublin)

9. Finian Hanley (Galway)

10. John Heslin (Westmeath)

11. Darren Hughes (Monaghan)

12. Lee Keegan (Mayo)

13. Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin)

14. Paddy McBrearty (Donegal)

15. Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)

16. Niall Morgan (Tyrone)

17. Neil McGee (Donegal)

18. Chrissy McKaigue (Derry)

19. Ciaran McKeever (Armagh)

20. Kevin McLoughlin (Mayo)

21. Conor McManus (Monaghan)

22. Ross Munnelly (Laois)

23. Michael Murphy (Donegal) (captain)

24. Aidan O'Shea (Mayo)

25. Ciaran Sheehan (Cork)

26. Michael Shields (Cork)

27. Zach Tuohy (Carlton/Laois)

28. Aidan Walsh (Cork) (vice-captain)

29. Daithi Waters (Wexford)

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