Póg mo thóin: Ireland’s Excess

10 08 2007

Jus’ a wee touch o’ the blarney about thi’ lad!Wilder than Malachy McCourt… crazier than a mad leprechaun… more Irish than the Blarney Stone… smoother than a glass of Guiness…
So today we welcome yet another Rugby writer to the fold: Caomhan.

Fáilte ó chroí, Caomhan.

by Caomhan

Coach Eddie O’ Sullivan has cut the ireland rugby squad down from 48 to 37 with the final seven to be let go after the upcoming scotland test. Of those of note the first to fall were the young and talented Leinster duo of Robert Kearney (fullback/wing) and Luke Fitzgerald (fullback/wing/centre). Brian Carney It seems thats the world cup has come just a few months too early for these two rising stars of Irish rugby and they will be sorely missed by many a Leinster and Ireland fan. However I would be more than confident that both can look forward to a prominent role in next years six nations competition for Ireland.

There was speculation and hope from certain quarters of the Irish rugby fraternity that O’ Sullivan would perhaps take a chance and opt for one of these future backline stars of ireland for there impact ability, but steady Eddie is not one for risks nor spontaneity – some say to the Ireland’s detriment – others disagree.

Depending on the split between forwards and backs that O’Sullivan chooses there are at most only one to two plane seats up for grabs in the back-line. The most likely contenders who must battle for them being: new star convert to rugby union Brian Carney… Geordan Murphy – a one time automatic pick, now craving starts and confidence… Gavin Duffy, versatile all-rounder… and finally Tommy Bowe – Ulster’s tidy winger. The Scotland match will see all four given a start in order to stake a claim, and the pressure will be intense.

The half backs bench spots will go to Isaac Boss and Paddy Wallace who will partner each other on Saturday. Paddy Wallace will need to show the Irish fans that he can sucessfully step into the breach if something happens to the talisman that is ice man, Ronan O’ Gara.

Jamie Heaslip
In the forwards, it is even a more cut throat affair… mainly in the talent laden backrow which is according to the coach is the area “that is causing the greatest headache”. Neil Best is nearly a certainty, and may even start in France – leaving Stephen Ferris, Jamie Heaslip and Alan Quinlan in the vying for the last two places available. Jamie Heaslip performed very well against Argentina, and is considered a specialist number eight. The behemoth Stephen Ferris can play in all three backrow positions, and lastly Munster’s Alan Quinlan is cover for seven, but has also played as a make shift lock at times… the Scotland match will be crucial in deciding who loses out.

The front row places resolved themselves much earlier, with Ulster’s Simon Best and Bryan Young at tight head and loose clinching their spots respectfully when both preformed well against Australia and Argentina. They will be given another outing against Scotland this weekend to garner further experience. The first team hooker position is still up for grabs, and Jerry Flannery will be hoping to reclaim it with another impressive display.

The situation with the second row is more perplexing. Malcom O’Kelly seems to have sewn up the third spot,Stephen Ferris with the fourth lock spot looking like its going to be filled by a make shift backrower in the form of either the the tough veteran Alan Quinlan, or the powerful young Stephen Ferris.. giving both an added string to their bows.

Scotland will no doubt play their first XV in hopes of a confidence boosting win so this should be an interesting game.

Roll on Saturday!

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