Geoghegan and Clohessy still under scrutiny


FRANK COTTON, the manager of the Lions team toe tour South Africa in May, confirmed yesterday that he will watch West Hartlepool take on Bath in the English League on Thursday night if, as expected, Ireland wing Simon Geoghegan plays for Bath.

The match will mark Geoghegan's return to the Bath senior side. He has missed most of the season following operations to rectify problems with his toes.

Geoghegan played one league match with Bath at the start of the season, prior to the operations, and he recently returned to the game with Bath United, the club's second XV.

Cotton confirmed yesterday "that despite Geoghegan's major injury problems and the severe curtailment of his involvement this season, if he comes through the match on Thursday night, he is a contender for a place in the Lions side. However, fitness is obviously the key factor. The 35-man Lions party is due to be announced next Wednesday.

Cotton also stated that he is studying videos of Queensland's matches in the Super 12 tournament. "The object is to assess the form of Peter Clohessy," said Cotton.

Tight head prop Clohessy is another contender for the Lions. Queensland have also confirmed that Clohessy will be released if he is chosen for the Lions. In any case, it is now extremely unlikely that Queensland will qualify for The knock-out stages of the Super 12 competition.

The Lions selectors met in Birmingham at the weekend and most of the names have now been pencilled in. "There are some matters outstanding before we finalise the party," said Cotton.

Meanwhile, Ireland scrum half Niall Hogan will make his debut for London Irish tomorrow in their English league match against Wasps at Loftus Road. Hogan played his last match for Terenure College against Shannon in the All Ireland League last Saturday.

He indicated some weeks ago that he was going to London Irish, but as a home-based contracted player with the IRFU, he had to serve out a month's notice before making the move.

The Ireland Schools' team to play England under floodlights at Lansdowne Road on Saturday evening (7.0), includes two of the players who helped win the Triple Crown last season. They also participated in the Schools' Australian tour last summer, returning with a 100 per cent record. They are full back Cormac Dowling (St Michael's) and scrum half Ciaran Scally (Blackrock).

The selectors have left the right wing berth vacant pending a fitness test on Stephen Conway (Crescent). He has a thigh injury. If he is unfit, then the place will go to David Wilmot (Coleraine AI).