O'Connell will captain the side

The Ireland team management today announced squads for both the senior Ireland team and the upcoming O2 Ireland Wolfhounds game as preparations begin for the 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship.

There are 24 players named in the Ireland senior squad, with six additional up and coming players named who will join the first week of Ireland camp in Limerick to train with the squad.

The 22 man O2 Ireland Wolfhounds squad includes several uncapped players as well as full internationals.  The Ireland squad, from which the team to play Wales will be selected, will be announced on Monday 30th January after the Wolfhounds game against the England Saxons.

Commenting on the announcement, Ireland Coach Declan Kidney said, “The Wolfhounds game gives myself and the other coaches one final chance to give games to players to see possible options before we settle on our match day 22 for the opening game.  It also gives us the opportunity to have a closer look in training at some of the younger players, rather than bringing in more experienced players, who are very much still in the frame for selection.

There have been some strong performances by players with the Provinces going really well.  It always gives the squad a good boost when we have teams with players playing well in Europe before we step back up into the international scene.”

Talking about the start of the RBS 6 Nations Championship, Kidney said, “It’s a new tournament for us and for everybody involved, so irrespective of the highs and lows of the World Cup, it is a fresh and exciting challenge for us.  The tournament begins what is big year for us, with a three test tour to New Zealand to come in June and ranking points all important for the Rugby World Cup in 2015, but the Six Nations always stands out as high point.”

Ireland Squad
Rory Best (Ulster)
Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
Tom Court (Ulster)
Sean Cronin (Leinster)
Leo Cullen (Leinster)
Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster)
Keith Earls (Munster)
Stephen Ferris (Ulster)
Cian Healy (Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Shane Jennings (Leinster)
Rob Kearney (Leinster)
Fergus McFadden (Leinster)
Conor Murray (Munster)
Sean O’Brien (Leinster)
Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster)
Paul O’Connell (Munster)
Ronan O’Gara (Munster)
Eoin Reddan (Leinster)
Mike Ross (Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Munster)
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
Paddy Wallace (Ulster)

Additional players
Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution – Munster)*
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution – Munster)*
Tiernan O’Halloran (Galwegians – Connacht)*
Paddy McAllister (Ballynahinch – Ulster)*
Andrew  Conway (Blackrock College – Leinster)*
Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution – Munster)*

O2 Ireland Wolfhounds
Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution – Munster)*
Isaac Boss (Terenure College – Leinster)
Gavin Duffy (Galwegians – Connacht)
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College – Leinster)
Chris Henry (Belfast Harlequins – Ulster)
Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution – Munster)
David Kearney (Lansdowne – Leinster)*
Ian Keatley (Young Munster – Munster)
Ronan Loughney (Buccaneers – Connacht)*
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College – Leinster)*
Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers – Connacht)
Kevin McLaughlin (St.Mary’s College – Leinster)
John Muldoon (Galwegians – Connacht)
Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin – Munster)
Eoin O’Malley (Old Belvedere – Leinster)*
Rhys Ruddock (St.Mary’s College – Leinster)
Mike Sherry (Garryowen – Munster)*
Nevin Spence (Ballynahinch – Ulster)*
Devin Toner (Lansdowne – Leinster)
Dan Touhy (Ballymena  – Ulster)
Damien Varley (Garryowen – Munster)
Brett Wilkinson (Galwegians – Connacht)*

Not considered due to injury:
Brian O’Driscoll, David Wallace, Darren Cave, Felix Jones, Jerry Flannery, Eoin Griffen*, Denis Leamy, Niall Ronan.

N.B. * denotes uncapped player