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Irish International Rules boss Joe Kernan upbeat despite Cavanagh, Murphy woe

By Declan Bogue

International Rules manager Joe Kernan has admitted that it is unlikely that series veterans Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone) and Michael Murphy (Donegal) will take part in this year's test.

The two Ulstermen, who have both captained Ireland in the tests against the cream of Aussie Rules talent, are doubts due to injuries as a cumulative result of wear and tear at the end of long seasons.

Their participation for the single test on November 21, in Croke Park, is now in severe doubt.

"Injuries have a big part to play," conceded Kernan at a Croke Park press conference, in which Bernard Brogan was confirmed as this year's captain.

"We lost Michael Murphy who all year was carrying bits of niggles and he wasn't 100 per cent. Sean Cavanagh has a bit of a knee problem. Also, we lost David Moran and Brian Fenton last week - he has to have an operation - so we have lost players but the beauty of this is it gives an opportunity to some other boys."

Another disadvantage Kernan is having to come to terms with is the unavailability of the Irish players currently plying their trade in the AFL.

With Pearse Hanley recently made captain of Brisbane Lions and Zach Tuohy in fine form in the recent Laois final for Portlaoise against Emo, this is a considerable blow.

Kernan revealed that they had been refused permission by the AFL clubs.

"It's a pity, we would love to have them but we have plenty of boys who have played it over the last number of years. It's disappointing," he lamented.

However, Kernan is convinced that Ireland can deliver a more convincing performance than their 56-46 defeat in Paterson's Stadium, Perth, last year.

"Last year we were blown away early on but we're hoping we can match them," said the Crossmaglen club chairman, who is in his first year as Ireland manager.

Belfast Telegraph

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