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This Left Out Of The Irish Squad XV Illustrates The Depth Of Talent Now Available To Joe Schmidt

No other Irish coach has had such depth at his disposal.

During the early part of the 21st century Irish fans hoped and prayed nothing untoward would happen to either Ronan O’Gara or John Hayes.

Although Brian O’Driscoll was Ireland’s stand-out player at the time, Eddie O’Sullivan couldn’t do without his tighthead or flyhalf due to a shortfall of talent.

How things have changed. Through a greater centralisation of power, and the imposition of David Nucifora’s stringent recruitment policy, Ireland have managed to develop a generation of players that toppled the All Blacks.

Such is the pool of talent now at Joe Schmidt’s disposal, Ireland can field a team that can deal with the absences of Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony.

This was not even the case 12 months ago, when Ireland came up short against Argentina at the World Cup. Not only were the back row duo missed during the Puma’s 43-20 victory, but Ireland were also without Johnny Sexton and Paul O’Connell.

Since then however, Ultan Dillane has literally burst into the Irish team, Tadhg Furlong emerged as a top class tighthead, while Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander have brought even more power and dynamism to the back row.

Although Ireland may still lack adequate cover for Conor Murray, Paddy Jackson and Joey Carbery have the potential to challenge Sexton for the number 10 jersey, Gary Ringrose has the ability to bring some magic to the midfield, as does Tiernan O’Halloran from fullback.

That is without mentioning names such as Ian Madigan, Matt Healy, Chris Henry, Tommy O’Donnell, John Ryan, David Kilcoyne, James Cronin, Craig Gilroy, Jake Heenan, Niyi Adeolokun, Stuart McCloskey and lets not forget Tommy Bowe or Dave Kearney.

In addition, Ireland can also call on youngsters like Dan Leavy, Jack O’Donoghue, Jacob Stockdale and Cian Kelleher. What’s more, this time next year both Bundee Aki and Tyler Bleyendaal will have become Irish qualified, adding further depth to Ireland’s already expanding player pool.

The availability of such talent will bring with it selection dilemmas, a welcome headache considering where Ireland were only ten years ago.


[tie_slide]1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster)

Guinness Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 12/11/2016 Ireland vs Canada Ireland’s Dave Kilcoyne and Matt Evans of Canada Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie


[tie_slide]2. James Tracy (Leinster)

James Tracy 12/11/2016


[tie_slide]3. John Ryan (Munster)

ack O'Donoghue and John Ryan at the of the game 12/11/2016


[tie_slide]4. Donnacha Ryan (Munster)



[tie_slide]5. Billy Holland (Munster)



[tie_slide]6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster)

Jack O'Donoghue and Peter O'Mahony at the of the game 12/11/2016


[tie_slide]7. Tommy O’Donnell (Munster)

RBS 6 Nations Championship Round 5, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 19/3/2016 Ireland vs Scotland Ireland's Tommy O'Donnell Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy



[tie_slide]8. Jack O’Donoghue (Munster)



[tie_slide]9. Luke McGrath (Leinster)

Guinness Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 12/11/2016 Ireland vs Canada Ireland’s James Tracy, Luke McGrath and Dave Kilcoyne Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie


[tie_slide]10. Joey Carbery (Leinster)

Guinness Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 12/11/2016 Ireland vs Canada Ireland’s Joey Carbery


[tie_slide]11. Tommy Bowe (Ulster)

Ireland v Romania - Group D: Rugby World Cup 2015



[tie_slide]12. Rory Scannell (Munster)

Rory Scannell 22/11/2016



[tie_slide]13. Stuart Olding (Ulster)



[tie_slide]14. Craig Gilroy (Ulster)

Ireland vs Canada Ireland’s Kieran Marmion celebrates scoring his sides sixth try with Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie


[tie_slide]15. Tiernan O’Halloran (Connacht)




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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.