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Door still open for GAA players chasing Olympic dream with Ireland 7s

Sevens director Anthony Eddy says the gaelic footballer who tried out for Sevens narrowly missed out on this selection.

Tom Daly, Matthew D'Arcy and Cian Aherne at yesterday's Sevens squad announcement.
Tom Daly, Matthew D'Arcy and Cian Aherne at yesterday's Sevens squad announcement.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IRELAND’S SEVENS DIRECTOR Anthony Eddy insists the door remains open for athletes wishing to cross over in to the simplified form of rugby.

The IRFU invited anybody from any sporting background to try out for the revived national team with talent identification days held in each of the four provinces.

Eddy estimates that he has seen 450 hopefuls tog out this year. A handful of men who had previously specialised in gaelic football managed to make the penultimate cut of 45 for spring trials in Dublin. However, yesterday’s squad announcement contained 27 players who already played 15-a-side rugby to a high level.

“A couple of them came pretty close actually,” Eddy said when asked about the footballers.

“Their fitness was certainly something that was of interest to us and their athleticism. But I suppose the contact part of the game was something that needed work.

Look, I haven’t closed the door on that either. The depth of talent through the rugby ranks is good, but there are a lot of good athletes out there representing other sports that we’ll continue to look at in the future.”

Eddy, who will divide his time between overseeing the men’s and women’s Sevens teams this summer, added:

“You want to use the background you’ve got in rugby and I suppose that’s why at the moment we’ve got the more traditional rugby player representing the teams.

“I still think there are opportunities for players from other sports to transition. You’ve just got tolook at what the US have done. Some of their players have come from athletics or football. So we’ve still got that opportunity through gaelic.”

Anthony Eddy Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“The depth of talent has been exceptional. I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of skill Irish players demonstrated.

“Now we’re at a point where, with our squad of 27, we need to go and play a couple of tournaments.”

Eddy’s players are chomping at the bit, but they only have to wait 10 more days.

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Sean Farrell

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