Local duo prepare for international action
Two local players have been named in Ireland international squads for upcoming games.
Athlone's Robbie Henshaw (pictured above in training) has been selected at inside centre on the Ireland rugby team to face Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night.
Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham who, like Henshaw, are registered as Buccaneers players are among the replacements.
In total, 11 of Ireland's starting XV are Leinster players, with James Lowe set to make his debut on the left wing. Lowe qualifies to play for Ireland under the now defunct three-year residency rule.
Kick-off is 7pm this Friday and the game is being televised by RTE and Channel 4.
Ireland will then travel to London to play Six Nations champions England at Twickenham on Saturday, November 21. The following Sunday, Ireland will host Georgia at the Aviva Stadium and will complete the series of international fixtures on Saturday, December 5 against either Fiji, France, Italy or Scotland.
Meanwhile, Heather Payne from Ballinasloe is part of the Ireland women's soccer squad for the final game in their qualifying group, at home to Germany, on Tuesday, December 1 in Tallaght Stadium.
With seven games already played, Vera Pauw's charges are still in the hunt for a qualifying play-off for the 2022 UEFA Women's European Championships.
Cork City's Saoirse Noonan has earned a first senior call-up, having scored twice in the FAI Women's Senior Cup semi-final victory over Treaty United. Also known for her Gaelic football skills, Noonan scored the only goal of the game in Cork's All-Ireland championship victory over Kerry last weekend.
The Ireland players will report into camp on November 22 when the squad will be cut back ahead of the first training session at the FAI National Training Centre.
Germany have already been confirmed as Group I winners, which means that the runner-up spot and a qualifying play-off is now between second-placed Ireland (13 points) and third-placed Ukraine (12 points).
Ukraine play Montenegro on the same day as Ireland host Germany. Ireland currently hold a better goal difference so they need to equal or better Ukraine's result in order to seal second spot.
Ireland rugby team v Wales (Autumn Nations Cup)
15. Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan)
14. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD)
13. Chris Farrell (Munster/Young Munster)
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers)
11. James Lowe (Leinster)
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) captain
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster)
1. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf)
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne)
3. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD)
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy)
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD)
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution)
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD)
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College)
16. Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers)
17. Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD)
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers)
19. Quinn Roux (Connacht/Galwegians)
20. Will Connors (Leinster/UCD)
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen)
22. Billy Burns (Ulster)
23. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster)