18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Ferris, 21, was a likely member of Ireland's Churchill Cup squad last summer but he stayed at home, missing the tournament in order to have a clean-up operation on his ankle.
Comfortable as a flanker or at number 8, the Dungannon clubman famously scored five tries in five games for Ireland at the 2005 IRB Under-21 World Cup in Argentina - the Irish finished ninth, with an Aussie side containing Cameron Shepherd, who kicked nine points at Thomond Park, try scorer Adam Ashley-Cooper and sin-binned flanker James Horwill claiming the runners-up spot.
Leinster's Rob Kearney is wrapped up in a tackle by Australia 'A' full-back Cameron Shepherd. The 20-year-old Kearney, who was promoted to the Ireland 'A' starting line-up after Denis Hickie's senior call-up, was making his fourth appearance for the 'A' team. Well used to Australian accents, with Michael Cheika and David Knox calling the shots at Leinster, the former Louth minor footballer featured in all seven games on the Ireland Schools team's 2004 tour to Australia.
Kearney even has a link to former Australian international Joe Roff - during his days at Clongowes Wood, he was coached by Adam Lewis whose brother-in-law is Roff!
Luke Fitzgerald has taken the quick route through to the Ireland 'A' team. The prodigious Leinster full-back/winger has yet to play for either the Ireland Under-19s or Under-21s, but he still made his Ireland 'A' debut on Wednesday night and marked it with a try. A son of former Ireland prop Des Fitzgerald, the 19-year-old, who has been training with Eddie O'Sullivan's senior squad this autumn, has not even lined out for his club Blackrock College RFC yet!
Luke Fitzgerald halts the progress of Australia 'A' winger Adam Ashley-Cooper in Limerick with a good tackle. Fitzgerald has scored one try (against Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup) in nine outings for Leinster this season.
Mick O'Driscoll, who came on as a second half replacement, gets to grips with Australia 'A' scrum half Brett Sheehan. In February and March of this year, the 28-year-old Munster lock captained Ireland 'A' to a 20-12 defeat to France and a 33-18 win over England.
Number 8 Jamie Heaslip tries to set up an attack for Ireland 'A' - the Kildare man is coaching Newbridge Under-20s this season as well as starring for Leinster in the Magners League and Heineken Cup.
Luke Fitzgerald tries to go past Australia 'A' centre Scott Staniforth. Fitzgerald was one of eight Leinster players to be capped by Ireland 'A' on Wednesday night - unfortunately young scrum half Cillian Willis remained on the bench. Four Ulster and three Munster players made appearances, while hooker John Fogarty represented Connacht, who also had prop Ray Hogan and out-half Mark McHugh amongst the replacements.
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**
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