By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Ireland has announced its 30 man squad for the rugby World Cup after a 32-24 victory over Argentina at Lansdowne Road last Saturday. With Victor Costello already out in the cold, Conor McGuinness, Rob Henderson and Denis Hickie were the high-profile casualties.
Coach Warren Gatland decided to go with a split of 17 forwards and 13 backs with Leinster’s uncapped Angus McKeen getting the vote as the fifth prop. Second row Bob Casey is the only other uncapped player in the squad.
The Irish had stormed into an impressive 32-3 lead over Argentina — who had beaten European Champions Scotland the previous week — only to falter in the closing stages.
Ahead by four tries to nil with wing Matt Mostyn helping himself to a hat trick, Ireland tired dramatically and conceded three tries to the visitors in the final quarter of an hour. "We should have closed the game down," admitted Gatland, "but the players are lacking match fitness at this early stage of the season. It’s an area we know we can fix."
Ireland play two warm-up games against Munster and Ulster in September and begin their World Cup campaign with an opening match against the U.S. on Oct. 2.
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
World Cup squad
Backs: C. O’Shea (London Irish), G. Dempsey (Terenure), J. Bishop (London Irish), J.Topping (Ballymena), M. Mostyn (Galwegians), B. O’Driscoll (Blackrock), K. Maggs (Bath), J. Bell (Dungannon), M. Mullins (Young Munster), D. Humphreys (Dungannon), E. Elwood (Galwegians), T. Tierney (Garryowen), B. O’Meara (Cork Constitution).
Forwards: K. Wood (Garryowen), R. Nesdale (Newcastle), P. Clohessy (Young Munster), P. Wallace (Saracens), J. Fitzpatrick (Dungannon), R. Corrigan (Lansdowne), A. McKeen (Lansdowne), M. O’Kelly (St Mary’s), J. Davidson (Castres), P. Johns (Dungannon), B. Casey (Blackrock), T. Brennan (St Mary’s), D. Corkery (Cork Constitution), A. Ward (Ballynahinch), K. Dawson (London Irish), E. Miller (Terenure), D. O’Cuinneagain (Ballymena), capt.