Ireland coach Kidney calls in cover for O’Connell

Ireland coach Declan Kidney has called up Connacht forward Mike McCarthy as cover for lock Paul O’Connell who will be given until Friday to prove his fitness.


O’Connell is struggling with a knee injury and a final decision on his fitness for the three-Test trip will be made on Friday, so McCarthy has been added to the group that Kidney originally named earlier this month.


Meanwhile, forwards Chris Henry and Brett Wilkinson both came through Tuesday’s defeat against the Barbarians in Gloucester following recent injuries and are fit to travel.


Uncapped scrum-half Paul Marshall and prop Ronan Loughney, who will provide front-row cover in case Leinster prop Mike Ross can’t recover from a hamstring injury, are also heading to New Zealand.


Scrum-half Isaac Boss and flanker Stephen Ferris had already been sidelined from the tour due to injuries.


Ireland will meet the world champion All Blacks in Auckland on June 9, Christchurch seven days later and then in Hamilton on June 23.


Ireland squad to tour New Zealand:


Forwards (17):


Rory Best (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Ronan Loughney (Connacht), Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), Mike McCarthy (Connacht), Sean O’Brien (Leinster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Mike Sherry (Munster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Brett Wilkinson (Connacht)


Backs (13):


Darren Cave (Ulster), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Paul Marshall (Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster, capt), Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster)

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