Ireland coach Declan Kidney has named the Ireland squads for the North America Tour and Churchill Cup…

The Ireland squad for the summer international tour will be captained by Rory Best and shows a mixture of youth in addition to a strong spine of experience for the two international test matches against Canada and the USA at the end of the month with 12 uncapped players making the trip.

With Leinster qualified for the Heineken Cup final on May 23rd, the same day as the test match against Canada, and 13 players travelling to South Africa with the British & Irish Lions as well as any possible replacements being called up, the Ireland tour gives an opportunity for players to put themselves in the frame for next season.

Ireland Coach Declan Kidney said: “When we confirmed the tour back in January, we were always hopeful some of the provinces and players would be involved in the Heineken or Challenge Cup finals and we would also be without any players selected for the British & Irish Lions tour. We felt that it would be a chance for the national management to work closely with a larger pool of players than we would normally do during the season and for players to come through at this level. We are continuing to try and build a squad and this tour is a real chance for players to stake a claim for the November games and next years championship.”


Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) CAPTAIN
Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster)
Ryan Caldwell (Dungannon/Ulster)*
Bob Casey (London Irish)
Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*
Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht)*
Ian Dowling (Shannon/Munster)*
Gavin Duffy (Galwegians/Connacht)
Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster)*
Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster)*
Ian Keatley (Galwegians/Connacht)*
Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Keith Matthews (Buccaneers/Connacht)*
John Muldoon (Buccanneers/Connacht)*
Barry Murphy (U.L. Bohemians/Munster)
Niall O’Connor (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*
Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Eoin Reddan (London Wasps)
Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster)*
Mike Ross (Harlequins)*
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster)
Bryan Young (Ballymena/Ulster)

A.N. Other**

Meanwhile, Ireland coach Declan Kidney has named a 27 man Ireland ‘A’ Squad for the 2009 Churchill Cup.

The Churchill Cup squad will be captained by John Muldoon and will also be under the national management’s guidance this year to widen the pool of players that the coaches have experience of working with.

The tournament includes teams from Argentina, USA, Canada, Georgia and the England Saxons and will see Ireland A play pool games against Canada and Georgia as well as a final game in the tournament playoffs.

The 27 man squad will include players from Leinster following the Heineken Cup final and will also see several from the senior tour also taking part to further their game time experience.

The squad also includes six capped players with Neil Best, Isaac Boss and Donncha Ryan amonsgt them. A number of players from the Ireland squad from the North American tour are also included in the ‘A’ squad.

Commenting on the Churchill Cup Ireland coach Declan Kidney said: “The three games in the Churchill Cup tournament will increase the opportunity for pitch time for players, so we felt that it would be important to bring some players on the senior tour and the Churchill Cup.”

“I know that players such as Keith Earls and Darren Cave benefited hugely from their Churchill Cup exposure, so this will be a good opportunity for many of the players who have not been involved before. We will be playing Canada for the third time in a year with our third different team as well as playing Georgia, who we faced in the last world cup, so it will be good exposure for the players to test level rugby. ”

IRELAND ‘A’ Squad (Churchill Cup 2009):

John Andress (Exeter Chiefs) *
Neil Best (Northampton Saints)
Isaac Boss (Ballymena/Ulster)
Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster)
Fionn Carr (Galwegians/Connacht)*
Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht)*
James Downey (Northampton Saints) *
Denis Fogarty (Cork Constitution/Munster)*
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)*
Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster)*
Trevor Hogan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster)*
Felix Jones (Seapoint)*
Simon Keogh (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*
Keith Matthews (Buccaneers/Connacht)*
Fergus McFadden (UCD/Leinster)*
John Muldoon (Buccaneers/Connacht)* CAPTAIN
Frank Murphy (Buccaneers/Connacht)*
Johne Murphy (Leicester Tigers)*
Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)*
Niall O’Connor (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)*
Ed O’Donoghue (Instonians/Ulster)*
Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster)*
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)*
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)*

Bryan Young (Ballymena/Ulster)

N.B. *Denotes uncapped at full international level

Ireland Churchill Cup Schedule:

Ireland A v Canada, Wednesday 10th June, 16.30hrs (local time), Infinity Park, Glendale, Colorado
Georgia v Ireland A, Sunday 14th June, 15.30hrs (local time) Infinity Park, Glendale, Colorado
Finals Day, Sunday 21st June, Dicks Sporting Goods park, Denver, Colorado