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Joe Kernan Explains Total Absence Of Dublin Players From Ireland Squad

Joe Kernan Explains Total Absence Of Dublin Players From Ireland Squad
By PJ Browne Updated

Take a look down through the Ireland squad for next month's two-game International Rules series against Australia and what's most notable is not who's included but rather who is not - there are no players from the three-in-a-row winning Dublin team.

For Joe Kernan, it was a disappointment not to have any of the Dubs involved. The Ireland manager said that he spoke to ten Dublin players but due to a combination of reasons, none could play, nor did they train with other hopefuls out in Abbotstown.

"They were involved with their clubs and, in fairness, their clubs wouldn't let them off. You can't complain about boys like that. What they've given, they've given their lives for their sport, the Dublin lads. They want to win more and, if they need a breather, then so be it."

But, in fairness to the fellas, all of the commitment they've given, all they've won this last three years, the way they've behaved, the way they've carried themselves and the way they've performed, something had to give. They had to give their commitment to their club and some of those players are dual players so they're playing every week. Some of them have work commitments, some of them have new jobs, a couple of injuries.

Had it not been for injuries to Jack McCaffrey and Bernard Brogan - who captained the Ireland team two years ago - Kernan believes both would have been among his 23, as would have a few more from Mayo.

"It's unfortunate, but Mayo were the same. I would have had another two or three Mayo players but because of injury. Lee Keegan was definitely in there, Andy Moran, Tom Parsons, Colm Boyle, they all have injuries."

Kernan was also disappointed to lose Conor McKenna to injury. The young Tyrone footballer was set to be one of three Irish AFL players in the squad. Torn ankle ligaments during a training match on Friday ended his chances.

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Kernan is excited about the players in his squad though - many of whom will be making their first foray into International Rules. He calls Tyrone's Niall Sludden a 'sensation'.

"His running, his skill level, his handling, his quick-thinking. That's what we're looking for. Speed, mobility, good kicking, and good mental awareness. "

The Armagh man sees an abundance of potential in Galway's Shane Walsh. "I just said I wanted to take the handcuffs off him and just let him out and play. Hopefully that's what you'll get."

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If you look at that forward line, Conor McManus, Michael Murphy, who's going around like a child in a toy-shop at the minute. He has no injuries, I've never seen him looking fitter and his attitude, toughness, and skill level is unbelievable.

Paul Geaney, Conor Sweeney, young Niall Murphy from Sligo - he's done awful well. He played himself onto the squad, without a doubt, with his performances for us.

And then around the middle of the field we have Gary Brennan, Peace Hanley, Kevin Feeley, Enda Smith. So we have a load of good ball players. If we can get the ball up there we'll cause problems.

See Also: Aidan O'Shea Got A Great Text From His Brother After Being Named Ireland Captain

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