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Zebo and Gilroy left out of Ireland squad
ESPN Staff
January 27, 2014
Ireland's Simon Zebo touches down, Wales v Ireland, Six Nations, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, February 2, 2013
Zebo was hugely impressive in last year's Six Nations © PA Photos

Joe Schmidt has named a squad of 34 players for the opening two games of the 2014 Six Nations.

Simon Zebo and Craig Gilroy are both notable omissions despite joining the Six Nations camp at Carton House this week as Schmidt waited on the fitness of Keith Earls.

Zebo has found fitness after a foot injury sustained in October and Gilroy has recovered after suffering suspected concussion in Heineken Cup duty for Ulster against Montpellier in January. Both played against England Saxons at the weekend but have clearly not done enough to prove to Schmidt that they are fully fit and ready for Ireland's opening double header. The pair can still be called up for later in the competition if their fitness improves.

Connacht's Rodney Ah You, hookers Rob Herring and Damien Varley and Ulster regular Robbie Diack all missed out after being named in Schmidt's original squad. Ireland will also be without Earls for the entire Six Nations, while Ian Keatley also misses out.

Schmidt's wing options for the opener will be Luke Fitzgerald, Andrew Trimble, Fergus McFadden and Dave Kearney. In the backdrop of an increasing injury list, Schmidt has been handed a boost after Jonathan Sexton came through action for Top 14 club Racing Metro this weekend unscathed - and he is expected to play at 10 for Ireland this weekend.

Ireland open their Six Nations campaign with back-to-back home fixtures against Scotland and reigning champions Wales.

Forwards: Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues), Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Lansdowne/Leinster) Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster) Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster) Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster) Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (St Mary's College/Leinster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)

Backs: Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster), Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster), David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster), Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)

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