Ulster winger Andrew Trimble was a notable omission from the Ireland squad ahead of next months November Guinness Test series.
The experienced international winger was overlooked by the Irish management when they named a 34-man panel on Tuesday for the games against Samoa, Australia and World champions, New Zealand.
It is a major blow for Trimble who has been playing well for his Province both at the end of last season and in his return from a finger operation this season.
Trimble turned 29 last Sunday a day after he scored a memorable try in Ulster’s stand-out 25-8 Heineken Cup Pool Five win in Montpellier.
He had been omitted from the Six Nations squad earlier this year when Declan Kidney was coach and this latest overlook by new coach, Joe Schmidt will come as a major blow.
British Lion and Ulster stablemate, Tommy Bowe was included as expected along with Keith Earls and Fergus McFadden, with David Kearney being given the nod.
It had been thought with Munster’s Simon Zebo and Ulster’s Craig Gilroy both unavailable due to injury and with the way Trimble, who has 50 international caps, has been performing he would have been part of the panel.
Schmidt, on naming his panel for the Test series, said: “The squad combines players who have shown form in the domestic season mixed with those who have a proven record at international level,” said Irish coach Schmidt.
“As always there were some very difficult decisions. Some players have had limited opportunity to impress due to injury and others have performed very well and it was difficult to leave them out.”
Trimble would no doubt have come into the ‘difficult to leave out’ category.
While there was disappointment for Trimble, there was a bonus for Tom Court who was named in the panel.
The loosehead was omitted from a 42-man training panel last month and some had thought Court, who has 42 Irish caps, would be an unlikely inclusion further down the line.
Ulster have eight players in total named in the panel, with Rory Best, Dan Tuohy, Declan Fitzpatrick and Chris Henry included in the forwards while Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall are named in the backs.
As predicted by the News Letter on Tuesday, yesterday’s Irish selection also confirmed that Iain Henderson could be out for a spell with a toe injury, although it is still unknown the full extent of the problem.
The make-up of the squad is consistent with recent selections and the only exile included is Jonathan Sexton, now with Racing Metro.
Looking ahead to the Test series, Schmidt said: “The series will demand plenty from the squad.
“I know they’ll be motivated by the challenge.”
Backs: Isaac Boss (Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), David Kearney (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92)
Forwards: Stephen Archer (Munster), Rory Best (Ulster), James Coughlan (Munster), Tom Court (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster), Sean O’Brien (Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Mike Sherry (Munster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster)