The squad for the forthcoming International Rules series in Australia was named today. As had been trailed in advance, it was announced that Aidan O’Shea will captain the Irish team in next month’s two-match series Down Under with Monaghan’s Conor McManus serving as vice-captain.
In all there are four Mayo lads on the squad named today by manager Joe Kernan. Three of them – Aidan, Brendan Harrison and Chris Barrett – were prominent members of this year’s championship team while the fourth, Pearse Hanley, is a long-serving export to the AFL. Kerry have three players on the squad, Monaghan and Tyrone have two each and there’s a sprinkling of others from a variety of counties. The full list is here.
Long-time readers will know I’ve little time for this international experiment and I’d be as well pleased if our lads – like the Dubs – had nothing to do with it. I recognise, though, that the players themselves value being part of it – in particular being involved in a touring squad – and, if so, good luck to them.
Some will, no doubt, be concerned that the three lads involved in this year’s championship campaign could do with a rest at this point of the year. While I’d share those worries to a certain extent it is worth noting that all three made belated starts to this year.
Brendan Harrison first lined out for the county in the Round 5 League match against Cavan in mid-March (having come on as a sub against Dublin in the previous round), while Chris Barrett made his first appearance in the following round, away to Tyrone. Aidan, meanwhile, didn’t appear on the scene until the final round against Donegal, though he did so with effect from the bench that day.
Anyway, congrats to the lads on their selection and the best of luck to them Down Under.