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McBrearty and McGee delight with Irish call-up

By Declan Bogue

Manager of Ireland's International Rules side, Paul Earley, has named his provisional squad to play Australia in the upcoming series tests later this month.

Donegal's Michael Murphy was unveiled as captain last week, although his involvement is expected to be curtailed as his club Glenswilly are in the Donegal county final against Killybegs on October 20th, a day after the first test in Kingspan Breffni Park.

Murphy is joined in the squad by Neil McGee, who will be making his second appearance in the hybrid series, and Paddy McBrearty who, famously, turned down a career in Australian Rules football to dedicate himself to Gaelic football.

There may be some disquiet ahead at the representation of county players. All-Ireland champions Dublin have only three members of their squad on the panel and Steven Cluxton – captain of the winning team of the last campaign in 2011 – is absent along with others who may have been strong contenders; Michael Darragh Macauley, Cian O'Sullivan, Diarmuid Connolly and Bernard Brogan.

However, there will be much support for the inclusion of Jack McCaffrey, who broke all sorts of testing records for rookies on a trials camp that was held in Dublin a couple of years back, before he opted to stay at home.

Another name that may flash up is Ciaran Kilkenny, who spent a couple of months of 2012 with Hawthorn before returning home to resume his GAA career.

There is no space for Down's Kevin McKernan, who was an influential performer in 2011, yet Tyrone's Niall Morgan has recovered sufficiently from his ligament damage sustained in a club match over the summer to secure a place.

The Australian team will be made up of players of Aboriginal roots and there has been an alarming lack of enthusiasm for this series Down Under, leading to fears that the long-term future of the initiative is under threat.

* AT the monthly Fermanagh county board meeting, which was held 'in camera' with no media allowed to be present on Monday night, chairman Patsy Dolan revealed that there are six candidates to be interviewed for the vacant manager's job.

The board had asked clubs to nominate candidates but it was revealed that they had received no nominations, despite speculation a host of names had been linked.

The withdrawal of support from fundraising supporters' body Club Eirne had also made the post less attractive, making the revelation of six interested candidates somewhat of a surprise.

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