Click here for photos of the Ireland squad’s training session at the University of Limerick on Tuesday.
Pictured above: Ireland lock Paul O’Connell talks to forwards coach Niall O’Donovan at the Ireland squad’s session at the University of Limerick. O’Connell was rested with ice on the right ankle that troubled him in the lead-up to Munster’s Heineken Cup final victory over Biarritz.
Paul O’Connell rests up with ice on his right ankle. Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan is “very pleased” to be taking a near full-strength squad on the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.
O’Sullivan said: “The only concern at the moment is John Kelly, who picked up a knock in Munster’s win over Cardiff. We’re going to give John every chance to make it. We’ve brought Anthony Horgan into the panel just in case it doesn’t work out for John.”
Munster centre Kelly injured his left shoulder in the 37-8 defeat of the Blues on Saturday night.
John Hayes wraps up Ireland squad newcomer Isaac Boss in a tackle. Capped at Under-19 level by New Zealand, Ulster scrum half Boss, now 26, qualifies for Ireland due to his grandmother being born in the County Antrim coastal town of Glenarm.
Ulster’s Andrew Trimble in possession during the session. Still only 21, Trimble has achieved much in his first full season with the province – winning the Celtic League and proving a valuable member of Mark McCall’s side at either centre or wing.
He also made his Ireland debut against Australia in November. In his first six caps, Trimble has scored 3 tries (two against Romania and his most recent against France in the Six Nations) and was part of the Irish side that won the Triple Crown at Twickenham in March.
Heineken Cup winner Donncha O’Callaghan tries to halt the progress of Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll.
Speaking at Tuesday’s media day, O’Driscoll said: “A lot of the boys are feeling fresh – if you saw the training today you’d see that we’re all in really good form.
“Munster and Ulster’s success has really rubbed off on the rest of the squad and the boys are really looking forward to going Down Under and having a real crack at New Zealand and Australia.”
Brian O’Driscoll, tracked by Geordan Murphy, will be hoping to add to his Irish record try tally in New Zealand and Australia. The Leinster centre has scored 27 tries for his country in 64 Test matches, but his last was against France in March 2005 so the talismanic skipper is certainly due a score.
Munster’s Heineken Cup final man-of-the-match Peter Stringer fires out a pass at training. The 28-year-old Corkman started seven of Ireland’s 8 Tests so far this season. He came off the bench for Kieran Campbell in the November win over Romania.
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**