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Friday 20 October 2017

Club duties may scupper Dub contingent in Oz-bound squad

At the sponsorship announcement of EirGrid as team sponsor for the Ireland International Rules side are Rosemary Steen (Director External Affairs, EirGrid), Richard Andrews (Australian Ambassador to Ireland), and Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Aogán Ó Fearghail. Pic: Naoise Culhane
At the sponsorship announcement of EirGrid as team sponsor for the Ireland International Rules side are Rosemary Steen (Director External Affairs, EirGrid), Richard Andrews (Australian Ambassador to Ireland), and Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Aogán Ó Fearghail. Pic: Naoise Culhane

Joe Kernan could have as many as five Dublin players in his squad for this year's two-test International Rules Series in Perth and Adelaide next month.

James McCarthy, Brian Fenton and Con O'Callaghan have all expressed an interest in joining the panel, although all are involved in Dublin SFC/SFC Tournament action over the next two evenings and could be ruled out should their clubs progress. Bernard Brogan, who captained the Irish team to a home series victory last time out, could also come on board while Stephen Cluxton - Anthony Tohill's captain in 2011 - is similarly currently considering Kernan's invitation.

"I have spoken to seven or eight of the boys at the minute, but they have club matches," Kernan clarified at yesterday's launch of the series. "Four or five said 'yes', two or three said 'no' because of work commitments. It will take another couple of weeks to iron that out. It is just awkward for the first two or three weeks."

Sensational

Armagh's 2002 All-Ireland winning manager described McCarthy, Fenton and O'Callaghan - all of whom had confirmed their interest, club permitting, as "three great players," adding "we'd hope to have another one or two with that.

"I've asked Bernard Brogan," he revealed, "who was sensational the last time, one of the best players in the country and a great leader the last time."

Brogan started all of Dublin's six championship matches this summer on the bench but Kernan said he had no qualms about calling the 33-year-old up.

"The one thing about Bernard Brogan, he'll make more good decisions at the right time in the heat of battle, so there's no problem in asking Bernard," he stressed.

"He just has to come back and say if it suits him work-wise. We just have to wait and see but Con O'Callaghan, people would say, 'Has he enough experience?' Of course he has.

"He's a class act but he has football and hurling to contend with with his club (Cuala) so it mightn't suit.

"But we're working from week-to-week and when we get another two weeks out of the way we'll have a good idea of where we're going.

Asked specifically about Cluxton, Kernan replied: "I rung him and I am just waiting for him to come back to me."

"In fairness to them, we've got to give them time," he added.

"They're after having a busy season, they're after coming off a busy week so next week we'll really be getting down to seeing who is and who isn't in."

Kernan added that he was "really disappointed," he couldn't call up Mayo's Lee Keegan on account of a hip injury carried by the reigning Footballer of the Year this season but that Aidan O'Shea, Chris Barrett and Brendan Harrison had all made themselves available from the beaten All-Ireland finalists.

Tyrone pair Seán and Colm Cavanagh have both indicated a willingness to come on board but their participation is club dependent as it stands.

Kernan also revealed that Carlow's Brendan Murphy had been one of the stars of the trials he and his management team of Darragh Ó Sé, Pádraic Joyce and Dermot Earley had already conducted in recent weeks. Ireland will take on the Aussies in Adelaide on Sunday, November 12 and Perth on Saturday, November 18.

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