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Farrell adds Ulster's McCloskey to Ireland squad ahead of Portugal trip

The 27-year-old has won three Test caps so far in his career.

ANDY FARRELL HAS added Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey to his Ireland squad ahead of their week-long training camp in Portugal.

The Ulster man was initially left out of Ireland’s 35-man group for the Six Nations but, with the squad assembling tomorrow, Farrell has opted to bring McCloskey on board.

stuart-mccloskey McCloskey has three Ireland caps. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Ireland boss said some of his backs are carrying niggles after the Champions Cup weekend, while praising McCloskey for his form in recent times.

Munster centre Chris Farrell was withdrawn from his province’s win over the Ospreys yesterday after suffering a knee injury in training last week.

McCloskey joins Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose, and Farrell in providing midfield options for Farrell, with Ireland set to fly out to Portugal on Wednesday for a week-long camp to prepare for their Six Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday 1 February in Dublin.

27-year-old McCloskey has won three Ireland caps so far in his career, making his debut against England in the 2016 Six Nations, facing Fiji in 2017, and then against the US in 2018.

“Stu has been playing well over the past few weeks and played well again at the weekend,” said Farrell. 

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“Centre is a very competitive area in the squad and with a few backs picking up small niggles at the weekend Stu is the form back who will now be added to the group to give us some extra options.”

Encouragingly, Ireland also reported that there are “no significant injury concerns following the weekend’s action European action,” which bodes well for Jordan Larmour.

The Leinster fullback suffered a low-grade foot injury in his province’s victory over Benetton on Saturday but the latest update from the IRFU indicates that he is not a major doubt for the Scotland clash in two weekends’ time.

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Murray Kinsella

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