Heartbreak aplenty as Joe Schmidt reveals preliminary World Cup squad

And so it begins.

Heartbreak aplenty as Joe Schmidt reveals preliminary World Cup squad

More than 12 weeks have still to pass before Ireland open their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign against Canada in Cardiff, but the countdown began in earnest yesterday evening with the announcement of Joe Schmidt’s preliminary training panel.

Forty-five names were included in the IRFU press release that landed in the inbox of media outlets around the country and far beyond at 5.14pm after the head coach had waded through the last of his day’s meetings and endless phone calls to numerous players.

Paul O’Connell will captain the squad but for the likes of Munster’s Ian Keatley and James Cronin, Leinster’s Mike McCarthy, Nathan White in Connacht and Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey, the dream is over. Schmidt has until August 31 to reduce his squad to 31.

IRELAND WORLD CUP TRAINING SQUAD:

FORWARDS:

R Best (Ulster), M Bent, J Conan, S Cronin, T Furlong, C Healy, J Heaslip (all Leinster), I Henderson, C Henry, R Herring (all Ulster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), J McGrath, M Moore, J Murphy, S O’Brien (all Leinster), P O’Connell (capt), T O’Donnell, P O’Mahony (all Munster), M Ross (Leinster), D Ryan (Munster), R Strauss, D Toner (both Leinster), D Tuohy (Ulster).

BACKS:

I Boss (Leinster), T Bowe, D Cave (both Ulster), G D’Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster), C Gilroy (Ulster), R Henshaw (Connacht), P Jackson (Ulster), F Jones (Munster), D Kearney, R Kearney, I Madigan (all Leinster), K Marmion (Connacht), F McFadden (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), J Payne (Ulster), E Reddan, N Reid (Leinster), J Sexton (Racing Metro), A Trimble (Ulster), S Zebo (Munster).

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