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McKeever lined up to lead Ireland in International Rules

By John Campbell

Armagh defender Ciaran McKeever could yet find himself leading the Ireland team out for the first International Rules Test in Melbourne on October 28.

McKeever, named as vice-captain when manager Anthony Tohill revealed the first 18 players for the trip Down Under, will be projected into the limelight should Dublin keeper Stephen Cluxton, already confirmed as skipper for the series, now be forced to miss out because of club commitments.

Cluxton’s side Parnells beat St Sylvester’s after extra-time in a thrilling Dublin Championship tie yesterday and are due to meet Ballymun Kickhams in the quarter-finals next weekend when Cluxton is scheduled to travel to Australia with the Ireland party.

If Parnells lose the game, the Dublin All-Ireland winning hero will fly to Australia a couple of days after the official party.

But if Parnells were to beat the Ballymun side, then Cluxton would be required for their semi-final mission which would effectively rule him out of the International Rules series.

Manager Tohill confirmed yesterday that Laois duo Zach Tuohy and Colm Begley along with Brendan Murphy (Carlow) and Eamon Callaghan (Kildare) will be joining the 23-man squad for Australia meaning that there is now only one slot to be filled.

Meanwhile, Australia coach Rodney Eade has named an inexperienced panel with only four players — Brad Green, James Frawley, David Wojcinski and Stephen Milne — having previous Rules experience.

Australia Squad: Richard Douglas (Adelaide Crows), James Frawley (Melbourne), Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), Brad Green (Melbourne), Shaun Grigg (Richmond), James Kelly (Geelong Cats), Jake King (Richmond), Ben McGlynn (Sydney Swans), Trent McKenzie (Gold Coast Suns), Stephen Milne (St Kilda), Angus Monfries (Essendon), Robin Nahas (Richmond), Mark Nicoski (West Coast), Mitch Robinson (Carlton), Liam Shiels (Hawthorn), Zac Smith (Gold Coast Suns), Matthew Suckling (Hawthorn), Andrew Swallow (North Melbourne), Colin Sylvia (Melbourne), Jack Trengove (Melbourne), Bernie Vince (Adelaide Crows), Callan Ward (GWS Giants), David Wojcinski (Geelong Cats), Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs).

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