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Ulster star John Cooney cut from Ireland's World Cup squad ahead of England warm-up game

John Cooney
John Cooney

Ulster's John Cooney is one of three players to be cut from the Ireland squad ahead of the World Cup.

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Finlay Bealham and Mike Haley have also returned their provinces as the squad jet off to their warm-weather training camp in Portugal.

However, it is Cooney's departure that comes as the biggest shock, especially considering the ankle injury sustained by Joey Carbery in the win over Italy last weekend.

Carbery will remain with the squad and is expected to be available to return within six weeks, potentially in time for Ireland's World Cup opener against Scotland on September 22.

Cooney's ability to cover at fly-half as well as his primary position at scrum-half had been expected to work in his favour when the numbers are finally crunched for Schmidt's 31-man World Cup panel.

The 29-year-old was crowned Ulster's player of the season for the 17/18 campaign after moving north from Connacht. Increased Ireland opportunities followed as he made four, albeit short, appearances at this year's Six Nations. Cooney was not included in the squad for last weekend's game against Italy.

The good news from the latest Ireland squad update is that Rob Herring's back spasm, which brought an early end to his involvement at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, is fully recovered while Devin Toner’s ankle knock has not presented any further issues.

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Ireland’s next warm-up fixture is against England in Twickenham on Saturday, August 24.

Ultan Dillane and Rory Scannell were both allowed to return to their provinces last week.

The seven Ulster players remaining in the now 40-man squad are Rory Best, Rob Herring, Iain Henderson, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Jacob Stockdale and Will Addison.

Updated Ireland squad

Forwards (22)

Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 117 caps

Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 6 caps

Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 14 caps

Sean Cronin (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 68 caps

Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 33 caps

Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 89 caps

Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster) 45 caps

Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 8 caps

Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 29 caps

Jean Kleyn (Munster) 1 cap

Jack McGrath (St Marys College/Ulster) 55 caps

Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Ulster) 28 caps

Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 13 caps

Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 57 caps

Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 15 caps

Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 22 caps

James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 17 caps

John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 19 caps

Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 15 caps

CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 31 caps

Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 65 caps

Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 17 caps

Backs (18)

Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) 3 caps

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 17 caps

Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 2 caps

Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster) 19 caps

Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 4 caps

Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 13 caps

Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 77 caps

Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 6 caps

Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 37 caps

Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 18 caps

Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 90 caps

Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 14 caps

Kieran Marmion (Galwegians/Connacht) 26 caps

Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 11 caps

Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 72 caps

Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 21 caps

Jonathan Sexton (St Marys College/Leinster) 83 caps

Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 19 caps

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