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Criticism of Dubs stars' no-show an excuse to slam Rules series: Heslin

 

By Colm Keys

Criticism of the absence of Dublin players from the Irish International Rules squad in Australia should be set against the context of Richmond Tigers, the reigning AFL champions, not being represented on the Australian squad either, St Loman's and Westmeath's John Heslin has suggested.

Speaking at a Leinster GAA media event to promote this weekend's AIB club football semi-finals, Heslin, who didn't make the squad, revealed he couldn't have gone anyway with club commitments.

The talented forward was briefly on the books of Richmond and feels little has been made of the absence of their players by comparison to Dublin.

"No media man has highlighted that. That was quite an interesting fact, they took their time off and celebrated their win and went around with the cup, as the Dublin boys are doing as well," he said.

Heslin feels that criticism of Dublin may be a way of getting at the series itself.

"Maybe they are trying to have a pop at it. I suppose that's what keeps the media boys in business, everyone can't be positive. There has to be some negatives coming as well to keep a healthy relationship. Should some of them have played? Possibly. It's up to themselves.

"A lot of the Dublin players have probably done it before. They'd a long campaign. That's their third All-Ireland in a row. Jack McCaffrey made the point that a lot of them had club commitments as well.

"Only for the club you wouldn't be playing with the county, and only for that you wouldn't have the opportunity to represent your country. So if your club are calling you, you have to answer that call. A lot of the Dublin players did that."

Heslin would relish the opportunity to represent Ireland again, he admitted.

"I was in before. I was good enough a while ago, I wasn't good enough (now)," he laughed.

"Maybe sometime down the line I might get that opportunity. But you can't disagree with someone's opinion to not call you in. I wouldn't feel hard done by at all. There's a fantastic group at that level.

"There's a number of lads who would have felt hard done by not going. One guy in particular, Gearoid McKiernan, didn't get going and he's a fantastic player. There would be other lads that would have felt aggrieved.

"I was involved with the trials the last couple of years and it was a fantastic experience. But it's quite a demand when you're in the club. You'd usually train on Friday (with Ireland), stay Friday night and train on Saturday.

"Maybe another time I might get that opportunity."

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