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Joe Kernan set to be unveiled as the new Ireland boss

By Declan Bogue

The GAA will today unveil All-Ireland-winning former Armagh manager Joe Kernan as the new manager of the International Rules team, succeeding Paul Earley in the role.

Kernan becomes the eighth manager of Ireland since the series was revived in 1998. Interestingly, Ulster has been very much to the fore since that series, providing three previous managers in Brian McEniff, Pete McGrath and Anthony Tohill.

During that time, Ulstermen have also held the captaincy five times out of 11, with Michael Murphy, Steven McDonnell, Sean Cavanagh, Kieran McGeeney and Tohill having led Ireland into battle against Australia.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, former Orchard County attacker McDonnell said Kernan would be an ideal choice.

"He is a great organiser and a great player's man. In a short space of time he has the ability to pull things together and get things going in the right direction," he said.

McDonnell, who featured in six International Rules series, believes that Ireland have what it takes to win back the Cormac McAnallen Cup after Australia won in Perth's Subiaco Stadium last November.

"When the Australians take it seriously it is always competitive. If they don't, then Ireland always beat them. Of course Ireland can beat them," said McDonnell.

This latest role completes a unique set for Kernan, having won county, provincial and All-Ireland honours in charge of his club Crossmaglen Rangers, before going on to lead Armagh to their only All-Ireland title in 2002, as well as four Ulster titles and a National League.

As manager of Ulster, he has won the Inter-Provincial series in 2012 and 2013. He is set to unveil his plans at a press conference at Croke Park later today.

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