The Irish Management has also included four uncapped players in the squad. They include Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip from Leinster, who were members of the squad for the November Internationals. The uncapped newcomers are Leicester s backrow Shane Jennings and Wasps scrumhalf Eoin Reddan.
Commenting on the squad, Ireland Coach Eddie O Sullivan said, Paul (O Connell) and Brian (O Driscoll) have had tough seasons so far in terms of injuries, but their form has been excellent since they returned to playing in December. Along with the return of Denis Hickie, it gives the squad a little bit more experience then we had in November. Keeping in mind that we have the final round of the Heineken Cup this weekend, hopefully the squad will be fit and well and on the field next Monday morning .
He continued, As well as the return of the more senior players, we still have a good blend of youth with Andrew Trimble, Rory Best, Neil Best and Jerry Flannery all coming into the Six Nations with a little bit more experience.
Commenting on the new additions to the squad, he said, Both Eoin (Reddan) and Shane (Jennings) have been in good form for their clubs, so it will be good to see how they go with the squad next week. Jeremy Staunton and John Kelly have also been playing well and deserve their call up.
The full squad is as follows:
Forwards (19): Club Caps
Neil Best Belfast Harlequins/Ulster 2
Rory Best Belfast Harlequins/Ulster 2
Simon Best Belfast Harlequins/Ulster 10
Shane Byrne Saracens 41
Reggie Corrigan Greystones/Leinster 46
Simon Easterby Llanelli 44
Anthony Foley Shannon/Munster 62
Jerry Flannery Shannon/Munster 1
John Hayes Bruff/Munster 57
Jamie Heaslip Clontarf/Leinster 0
Marcus Horan Shannon/Munster 33
Shane Jennings Leicester 0
Denis Leamy Cork Constitution/Munster 6
Donncha O Callaghan Cork Constitution/Munster 19
Paul O Connell Young Munster/Munster 29
Johnny O Connor Wasps 10
Mick O Driscoll Cork Constitution/Munster 3
Malcolm O Kelly St.Mary s College/Leinster 75
David Wallace Garryowen/Munster 22
Backs (16): Club Caps
Tommy Bowe Belfast Harlequins/Ulster 6
Gordon D Arcy Lansdowne/Leinster 15
Girvan Dempsey Terenure College/Leinster 62
Guy Easterby Blackrock College/Leinster 28
Denis Hickie St.Mary s College/Leinster 51
Shane Horgan Lansdowne/Leinster 40
David Humphreys Dungannon/Ulster 72
Robert Kearney UCD/Leinster 0
John Kelly Cork Constitution/Munster 17
Geordan Murphy Leicester 34
Brian O Driscoll Blackrock College/Leinster 59
Ronan O Gara Cork Constitution 55
Eoin Reddan Wasps 0
Jeremy Staunton Wasps 3
Peter Stringer Shannon/Munster 61
Andrew Trimble Ballymena/Ulster 2
Meanwhile, in a joint statement issued today, the GAA, the IRFU and the FAI confirmed that agreement has been reached for the use of Croke Park for Rugby and Soccer Internationals in 2007.
It has been confirmed that Lansdowne Road will not be operational in 2007 due to redevelopment proposals and the IRFU and FAI are required to confirm their international board home fixture venues with their respective International Boards in the next few weeks. Discussions on the possible use of Croke Park have been ongoing over the last few weeks and these discussions are scheduled to continue relative to operational matters.
Two Rugby Internationals in February and at least three Soccer Internationals in March, October and November are scheduled to take place in 2007.
The situation post 2007 has not been discussed or considered and any future application will be reviewed in the context of the Lansdowne Road Development project in 2007.
Mr. Se n Kelly, President of the GAA, stated that he was pleased that agreement had been reached between the respective Sporting Organisations. He said that the development was practical and necessary to ensure that Irish sport and Irish sports followers did not have to travel abroad and that the Irish economy will still benefit from having access to home games while Lansdowne Road Stadium is being developed.
Philip Browne, Chief Executive, IRFU said this agreement represents a significant milestone in Irish sporting history.
It will be a major celebration for Irish sport and indeed for the general public in Ireland. The entire Rugby community looks forward to what will be magnificent sporting occasions at Croke Park .
The Chief Executive of the FAI, John Delaney, described today s agreement as an historic day for Soccer and for sport in Ireland.
We are delighted to have reached agreement with the GAA in a very positive, productive and businesslike manner , Delaney said.
The prospect of the Irish International Soccer team playing in Croke Park will appeal to everyone who has an interest in sport , he added.
Philip Browne and John Delaney, on behalf of their respective organisations and supporters, expressed their appreciation to the entire GAA organisation and it s management team for their open approach to facilitating the International commitments of the IRFU and the FAI.
Terms and conditions of the agreement are confidential to the respective parties.