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Mike McCarthy's Injury Reveals How Bare Ireland's Second Row Stocks Are

Mike McCarthy's Injury Reveals How Bare Ireland's Second Row Stocks Are
By Conor O'Leary
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It seems a far cry from the days of Paul O'Connell. Second Row was always an area of strength for Ireland - be it O'Connell, or Mick Galwey before him, going back to the legendary Willie John McBride.

How those days came crashing down all at once.

Paul O'Connell's retirement, coupled with the injury to Iain Henderson have shown how depleted Ireland's stocks are. With the injuries to Dan Tuohy and Mike McCarthy just make things even worse for Ireland.

It means that Schmidt is left with only two capped players in the squad, with only Dave Foley and Donncha O'Callaghan the capped players not in the squad, and only Ultan Dillane backing up Donnacha Ryan and Devin Toner.

It's likely that Schmidt will have to call up a replacement for McCarthy but there's no clear candidate. We put it to twitter yesterday with these options that aren't exactly household names:

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Foley just about edged the poll, but the Munster man never kicked on after impressing enough to win his two caps in 2014. Connacht's Aly Muldowney has been outstanding this season but aside from those four options who is there?

Mick Kearney and Quinn Roux are both injured (or returning from injury today).

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All of Ireland's options are at least a year away from being ready - with Henderson, Roux, and Kearney all good choices as well as Ross Molony and U20 captain James Ryan providing hope for the future.

So while all hope is not lost post 2016, there isn't a huge amount of hope left this year.

Come back Paulie, we miss you.

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See Also: We Pick The Ireland Team We Want To See For The Rest Of The Six Nations

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Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

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