INPHO/Billy Stickland Declan Kidney is looking forward to sampling the atmosphere at the redeveloped Lansdowne Rd stadium
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Kidney names squad for Aviva bow
Irish squad boosted by returned big names ahead of tough November schedule

Ireland manager Declan Kidney announced, this lunchtime, a very strong looking 34-man squad for the four international tests  next month.

His side will face South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina on consecutive weekends in November. The panel is bolstered by the return of Keith Earls, Stephen Ferris, Rory Best, Denis Leamy, Donnacha Ryan and Sean O’Brien who were all ruled out of the summer tour due to injuries at the end of the season.

Iconic second-rower Paul O’Connell remains absent due to ongoing long-term rehabilitation while Munster team-mate Tomás O’Leary is out until mid-November due to his broken thumb.

Leinster second row Devin Toner was also injured for the summer tour and he returns to the squad as one of two uncapped players, the other being in-form Munster back Johne Murphy.

Munster hooker Jerry Flannery and Leinster wing Luke Fitzgerald picked up injuries over the weekend and are remaining with their provinces to be fully assessed.

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney said earlier on RTÉ:

It is going to be a demanding month for the squad and the first time we have played four games in the Guinness series.

We felt it was important to have 30 fit players to choose from in terms of setting the foundations for November and it was better for those who picked up knocks to be assessed back in the provinces and when they have the all clear, to come back into the squad.

Jerry (Flannery) and Luke (Fitzgerald) are in that position, as are fellas like Tomás (O’Leary) and Leo (Cullen) who may well come back into the mix depending on their recoveries and game time that they may need to build up over the next couple of weeks.

We need everybody in a position to be able to contribute in training and while we may well leave a window for those coming back, all the players in the squad are deserving of their chance.

There are a lot of players who are unlucky not to make this squad, but the door will remain open to them also during November to join up with the panel.

And the former Munster boss is looking forward to sampling the atmosphere at the new stadium:

It will be great to be back playing in the home of Irish Rugby on Lansdowne Road in the Aviva Stadium and the atmosphere from what I have seen so far rivals the old stadium.

There will be a lot of talk about the new stadium and also about the Rugby World Cup, but the responsibility for the squad and management will be firmly to concentrate on the first game and then take each week as it comes in November.

We will soak up all the excitement that goes with all that, but the focus for everybody on November 6 will be performing against South Africa.

Full squad list:

Forwards (19): Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster),  Tom Court (Malone/Ulster), Sean Cronin,  (Buccaneers/Connacht),  Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster), John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip,  (Naas/Leinster), Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster), John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht)
Donncha O’ Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Mick O’Driscoll (Constitution/Munster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)*
Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster),  David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)

Backs (15): Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Gavin Duffy (Galwegians/Connacht), Keith Earls (Thomond/Munster), Shane Horgan (Boyne/Leinster), Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster), Johne Murphy (Young Munster/Munster)*, Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (St.Mary’s College/Leinster), Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)