Joe Kernan: Stage is set for a star to be born in Australia
The International Rules series invariably throws up a new star, a player who enhances his reputation in the Irish jersey.
In the recent past, players like Leighton Glynn (Wicklow), Ciaran McKeever (Armagh), Benny Coulter (Down) and Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone) have made a tremendous impact in the Rules Tests.
Cavanagh led Ireland to glory Down Under in 2008 but injury has precluded him from being involved in this year’s series which will get under way with tomorrow’s first Test in Melbourne.
It will be interesting to see which Ireland player makes a big name for himself over the course of the two games. I will be looking out for Kevin McKernan (Down) and Joe McMahon (Tyrone) in particular.
I think that both these players have what it takes to create a big impression in Australia. They are strong, forceful, athletic competitors who look capable of distinguishing themselves in the Rules code.
It seems clear that there is now an excellent spirit within the Irish camp which has been inculcated by manager Anthony Tohill and skipper Stephen Cluxton.
While it may seem rather bizarre that Cluxton will not do any Press interviews as captain, I have no doubt that vice-captain Ciaran McKeever will prove a very capable deputy for him in this regard.
McKeever has captained Armagh, played for Ulster and was an outstanding performer in the last Test series in Australia so he certainly knows the ropes both on and off the field.
On a different note, I will be signing copies of my new book ‘Without a Shadow of a Doubt’ in Devlin’s Lounge, Lower English Street, Armagh tomorrow night from 6.30pm.
Mine host there, Sean Devlin, who gave great service to Armagh Harps, was alongside me in the Armagh side that lost to Dublin in the 1977 All-Ireland final. I am planning launches of the book in Kerry, Dublin and Roscommon and I have to say that I am absolutely delighted with the initial reaction to the publication.
The attendance at the launch in the Canal Court Hotel, Newry exceeded all expectations.