All-Ireland champions Dublin won’t have a single player involved in next month’s International Rules series, a first for the hybrid competition.
No Ireland squad in the 33-year history of the compromise code has ever been without at least one current All-Ireland winner.
Dublin themselves provided Bernard Brogan and Stephen Cluxton in 2015 and 2011 in the wake of All-Ireland triumphs and both captained their country to wins.
Sean Cavanagh of Tyrone and Meath’s John McDermott also captained Ireland to series wins on the back of All-Ireland successes in 2008 and 1999. But Ireland selector Dermot Earley revealed none of Dublin’s three-in-a-row winning players were able to take up the invitation this year.
Earley said that ‘a lot of the Dublin squad’ were asked to team up with Joe Kernan’s training panel but all of them declined for various reasons.
Dublin midfielder James McCarthy said last week that he couldn’t take part because he’s unable to take three weeks off work for the trip Down Under.
But Earley insists it’s not a major blow to Ireland’s hopes ahead of November 12 and 18 tests in Adelaide and Perth.
“Not at all, I don’t think so,” said former Ireland star Earley. “It’s an Irish squad and it should represent the best players in the country and we’ve gone right around all the counties.
“We spent the summer looking at all games so we’ve strong representation from the top teams but we’ve also good representation from some of the less strong teams, if you want to call them that.”
Earley confirmed that plenty of Dublin players were invited to take part but couldn’t take up the offer.
“There haven’t been any in training,” said the Kildare legend. “I think it’s because of the commitments that they have regarding club.
“We’ve asked a lot of the Dublin squad to come in but just because of injuries, club commitments, guys just wanting to take a break, I don’t think there will be any Dublin representation on this.
“But that’s for Joe to announce, it’s not for me to say. Look, we’ve had great engagement and I think you do have to understand as well that after a long year guys do sometimes need a break and this may not suit them. That’s understandable.”
Earley himself won’t be available for the second and decisive test at Perth’s Domain Stadium on November 18.
The Gaelic Players Association chief is needed in Boston the following day for the Fenway Hurling Classic, the Super 11s tournament which is the brainchild of the GPA.
“I was approached at the start of the year by Joe to be involved as a selector again,” explained Earley.
“I informed him straight away that I wouldn’t be available for the second test as it did conflict with the Super 11s in Boston.
“He still wanted me on board and he spoke to Paraic Duffy, and I spoke to Paraic Duffy, just to be sure before I accepted, that they were satisfied with it.”
Earley was speaking at Dublin City University at the announcement of this year’s GPA/WGPA DCU Business School scholarship recipients.
He opened up for the first time about the groundbreaking testimonial that Kerry legend Colm Cooper will host on October 27 which could net the Killarney man a six-figure sum.
Paraic Duffy, the GAA’s director general, has stated that the GAA won’t support the testimonial but can’t, under rule, prevent it from happening either.
“The way I see it, and the GPA’s position, is that a player can mark his retirement in any way that they see fit and that’s the position that the GPA will take on it,” said Earley. “Going forward, I think that we probably may see more of these coming on board.
“The game is at the highest level it’s ever been at, the profile of players is higher than it’s ever been. I think we need to sit down and develop some protocols or criteria around it and I think that’s something I’ll be bringing up with the GAA.”
As for the GPA’s own fundraising activities in the US, the players chief confirmed that tables at one fundraiser cost as much as $50,000.
He said: “Yes, we aim big and I think that’s a value within the association and it has been successful over there and we will continue to do so.”
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