In a move that would make Ryan Giggs proud, a number of Ireland’s top GAA players have managed to avoid facing calls up to the Irish International Series squad.
Giggs only managed to win 64 caps for Wales in a 16 year International career and was notorious for regularly withdrawing from squad. In fact he did not play his first away game for Wales until three years before his retirement.
While Ireland’s GAA stars are not professional footballers and have just finished a long hard championship, a number of our top players will not be available to Ireland’s international Rules manager Paul Earley for this month’s series.
All Ireland winners Michael Darragh Macauley, Stephen Cluxton, Bernard Brogan and Cian O’Sullivan have ruled themselves out for various reasons while Kerry star Colm Cooper has decided to concentrate on his club Dr Crokes rather than represent his country.
The drop out’s are not just here in Ireland with AFL star Pearce Hanley also unavailable.
“Cian O’Sullivan was a guy who was very keen but he’s got an injury,” explained Earley in an interview in the Daily Mirror.
“He had a scan after the All-Ireland, Michael Darragh Macauley too.
“Stephen has also ruled himself out. This year he just isn’t able to make the commitment.
“(Bernard Brogan) spoke to me a few weeks ago as well and he’s been carrying knocks during the season. In his case, he needs a month off.
“We still have Paul Flynn, James McCarthy, Jack McCaffrey and Ciaran Kilkenny who have been with us for the last couple of sessions as well.
“The Mayo response has been great. Both sets of Dublin and Mayo players arrived on the Friday night after the All-Ireland final. We’ve had Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Colm Boyle and Lee Keegan.”
Ireland will be able to call on the experience of Carlton’s Zach Tuohy with the Laois man the only Australian-based player to make himself available
“He’s coming home at the weekend,” said Earley. “He’ll be joining us but he’s the only one.
The series has in recent years struggled to capture the imagination of the media, public and indeed county clubs and this year’s test series is no different with the participation of a number of players in doubt due to their club commitments although as has been the case with captain Michael Murphy the county board fixture committee have tried to make every effort where possible.
“Some county boards have put up their hands and said they would accommodate.” added Early
“There’s no point in making plans until we see what the outcome is first of all. That’s an issue as it is with a lot of players. We just have to deal with it.”