Irish squad named to take on the world

by Staff Writer

Conor Murray has been named in Ireland coach Declan Kidney's 30-man squad for the Rugby World Cup at the expense of Munster teammate Tomas O'Leary.

Murray made his only Test appearance against France in Bordeaux nine days ago, but he travels to New Zealand with fellow scrum-halves Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss.

O'Leary was thought to be Kidney's first choice in the position but has paid the price for his poor display in Saturday's 26-22 defeat by France.

Leicester fullback Geordan Murphy makes the cut, as does Leinster utility back Fergus McFadden, but there is no place for winger Luke Fitzgerald.

Murphy's hopes of inclusion looked dashed after the 33-year-old started the second string side's victory over Connacht last Thursday, but he was handed a lifeline when Felix Jones was ruled out of the tournament after sustaining a foot injury against France on Saturday.

Alongside O'Leary, Fitzgerald is another big-name casualty who has also suffered because of a loss of form.

Fitzgerald played well as a second-half substitute against France at Aviva Stadium, but it was not enough to convince Kidney he should travel.

McFadden's ability to cover wing and centre has strengthened his claim to a spot among the 30.

Most of the squad, which is led by Brian O'Driscoll, picked itself with a 16-14 split between forwards and backs.

Only four props will travel with Tony Buckley securing the last available place, beating off competition from John Hayes and Marcus Horan.

Donnacha Ryan travels as the fourth lock but also offers back row cover, while Stephen Ferris features after making his first appearance since January on Saturday.

Andrew Trimble's fine form is rewarded and his rival wing Tommy Bowe is present despite not having played this month because of a foot injury.

The Ireland squad for the World Cup (September 9-October 23) announced on Monday:

Forwards (16): Rory Best (Ulster), Tony Buckley (Sale Sharks), Tom Court (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Leo Cullen (Leinster), Stephen Ferris (Ulster), Jerry Flannery (Munster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Denis Leamy (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Paul O'Connell (Munster), Michael Ross (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), David Wallace (Munster)

Backs (14): Isaac Boss (Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Robert Kearney (Leinster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Geordan Murphy (Leicester), Conor Murray (Munster), Brian O'Driscoll (captain, Leinster), Ronan O'Gara (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Paddy Wallace (Ulster)

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