There is likely to be no Dublin players in Ireland’s international rules travelling party, which leaves for Australia in just over two weeks. This would be the first time that All-Ireland champions have been unrepresented in the 33-year history of the series.
Dermot Earley, who is one of manager Joe Kernan's selectors, revealed the prospect at a press conference in DCU on Thursday.
“There haven’t been any (Dublin players) in training. We’ve asked a lot of the Dublin squad to come in but just because of injuries, club commitments, guys just wanting to take a break, I don’t think there will be any Dublin representation on this but again, that’s for Joe to announce.”
Jim Gavin’s panel have been involved in county championship matches since the All-Ireland final in September and although just the Dublin final remains, a number of high-profile players are still involved with their clubs whereas others have work commitments.
Internationals James McCarthy, who travelled in 2014 and ruled himself out last week because of work and Jack McCaffrey, who has already played in two series for Ireland but is out with a cruciate injury, are among the obvious unavailable candidates.
Earley rejected the idea that this devalued the international series, which will be played out over two tests in November.
“Not at all, not at all. I don’t think so. It’s an Irish squad and it should represent the best players in the country and we’ve gone right around all the counties. We spent the summer looking at all games, so we’ve strong representation from the top teams but we’ve good representation from some of the lesser known.”
He also disagreed when asked was it embarrassing in the context of GAA issues in the past with some of Australia’s selections.
“Any time I’ve played, they’ve been highly competitive. I know there was possibly one or two times they may have brought over teams that weren’t their strongest but again there’s issues down there as well in that this is their off season, they have a very, very challenging full season and a very challenging and long pre-season so you have to understand that.”
Earley will be busy in November, as he will have to leave Australia just before the second test in order to attend the Fenway Classic series in Boston, which will be played in the Super 11 hurling format, devised by the GPA in conjunction with the GAA. He pointed out that he had flagged this with Kernan when asked to serve as an international selector.
“I informed him straight away that I wouldn’t be available for the second test as it did conflict with the Super 11s in Boston. He still wanted me to be on board … and he spoke to Páraic Duffy and I spoke to Páraic Duffy as well, just to be sure before I accepted that they were satisfied with that.”
He said that he was aware that the Super 11s was a controversial concept, seen as elitist and not a valid Gaelic game.
“I can understand their scepticism, they might say it’s not hurling but we are confined to stadiums in the States. I mean we can bring hurling to Gaelic Park and other GAA venues, but we want to bring it to the wider audience out there.”
He added: “It was a success two years ago. We had 28,000 people coming into Fenway Park. This year, we are one month out and we are very close to 20,000 tickets already sold.”