O’Gara overlooked by Ireland

Ronan O'Gara's international career could finally be coming to an end after he was left out of Ireland's squad in the lead up to Saturday's clash with France. [more]

O’Gara overlooked by Ireland

Ronan O’Gara’s international career could finally be coming to an end after he was left out of Ireland’s squad in the lead up to Saturday’s clash with France.

The 35-year-old hasn’t been included in a 32-man party for Round 4 as Ireland look to bounce back from successive tournament defeats.

O’Gara has been overlooked in favour of Lions favourite Jonathan Sexton, Ulster’s Paddy Jackson and Leinster’s Ian Madigan.

And while Sexton is still doubtful for the French encounter after missing the loss to Scotland with a hamstring injury, the inclusion of both Jackson and Madigan suggests the veteran playmaker isn’t in line for an immediate recall even if Declan Kidney’s first-choice fly-half fails to recover in time.

Jacksonwas surprisingly given the nod ahead of O’Gara for the 12-8 reverse at Murrayfield, although the Munsterman did come on as a second-half replacement for the 21-year-old.

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That Edinburgh appearance took O’Gara’s tally of Ireland Tests to 128, with his debut coming 13 years ago against Italy.

O’Gara, who also has two Lions caps to his name from three straight tours, guided his country to Grand Slam glory in 2009 and has featured in a hat trick of World Cups.

He has scored more than 1,00 points in international rugby but has consistently played second fiddle to Sexton in recent times, with his Leinster rival starting all five Championship encounters in 2012 and the autumn Tests with South Africa and Argentina.

The latest setback has prompted suggestions that O’Gara may soon announce his retirement from international rugby despite last year’s announcement that he intends to carry on playing professionally until the age of 38.

Having seen his squad decimated by injury before and during the Championship, Kidney has fitness worries over locks Mike McCarthy and Donnacha Ryan and wing Craig Gilroy, although the trio have been named in the squad.

Ulster wing Andrew Trimble is back involved having fallen out of favour in 2013, while his clubmate Robbie Diack wins a first Ireland call up.

Double Lions tourist Gordon D’Arcy misses out with a foot problem and Darren Cave and Robbie Henshaw are also unavailable through injury.

Ireland are still without wing Simon Zebo, hooker Richardt Strauss and Lions stars Paul O’Connell, Tommy Bowe and Stephen Ferris, with the latter having been ruled out for a further three months last week.

Ireland squad

Rory Best, Sean Cronin, Robbie Diack, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Declan Fitzpatrick, Craig Gilroy, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Iain Henderson, Paddy Jackson, Dave Kearney, Rob Kearney, David Kilcoyne, Ian Madigan, Luke Marshall, Mike McCarthy, Fergus McFadden, Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien, Donncha O'Callaghan, Tommy O'Donnell, Brian O'Driscoll, Peter O'Mahony, Eoin O'Malley, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Devin Toner Dan Tuohy

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