As with every Ireland squad announcement, there are always a number of players who many believe have earned a call-up. Here we take a look at some still uncapped players who have missed out on selection, be it through injury or otherwise.
The 23 year old wing/centre has been a revelation for Leinster this season since his debut against Treviso in the Pro12 opener. Since scoring his first senior try in Franklin’s Gardens in early December, O’Loughlin has a hit a run of try-scoring form, scoring six in his next six games. The St Michael’s man tops Leinster charts for metres gained (542) and clean breaks (13) in the Pro12.
Like his fellow winger O’Loughlin, Byrne has hit run of great form this season. Since making his debut all the way back in 2012, Byrne’s career has been halted by a succession of injuries.
He has scored eight tries in 10 appearances this season and has nailed down a starting wing slot. The Kildare man was even selected by Will Greenwood in a Lions XV. Many expected Byrne to get a call-up to the training squad at the very least.
Unlike his Leinster counterparts, Sweetnam has made the trip to Carton House before. The winger suffered a knee injury in the St Stephen’s Day clash with Leinster. This led to the Corkman being ruled out for a number of weeks. ‘Sweets’ was very likely to earn a call-up after being one of Munster’s most consistent performers this season. Every cloud has a silver lining for some however, with his replacement, Andrew Conway earning the call-up after a number of strong showings.
The Connacht loosehead is probably one of the most unlucky players in Irish rugby. Buckley has to compete with a former Lion, this year’s likely first choice Lions number one, and the dynamic ball carrier that is Dave Kilcoyne for a place in an Irish team.
Buckley is one of the fittest props around, often completing 80 minutes. It seems it will take a plethora of injuries for the Roscommon man to get his call-up.