Meath Chronicle

Published: Wednesday, 10th August, 2011 4:01pm

Former Meath footballer hopeful of making rugby World Cup squad

Profile by Jimmy Geoghegan

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Niall Ronan.
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Former Meath minor footballer Niall Ronan is hoping his performance for Ireland against Scotland at Murrayfield last Saturday will help his cause in terms of getting selected for next month's rugby World Cup in New Zeland.

Ronan, who played his club football for St Colmcille's, earned his fourth cap for Ireland in their 6-10 defeat by Scotland as both teams continued their preparations for the World Cup.

From past experience Ronan knows that events can change quickly in the world of rugby and although, at this stage, he has to be considered a long shot to make the final cut for New Zealand he's also acutely aware of how quickly fortunes can change.

Just a few weeks ago Ronan was called in as an 'extra' to help out at Irish squad training sessions at Carton House.

He wasn't named in the original expanded squad, but did enough to impress Irish coach Declan Kidney in the training sessions to be included as a surprise selection for the game in Murrayfield.

The Meath man did reasonably well against the Scots receiving praise from pundits for his tackling and all-round workrate.

Ronan's previous appearance for Ireland was against Australia in Brisbane in the summer 2010 tour, but he has endured contrasting fortunes since then.

He picked up a serious knee injury and dropped off the radar towards the end of last season not even making it into the frame in Munster as they went on to win the Magners League. He was delighted, and pleasantly surprised to get back into the national squad.

"It will be difficult to get into the World Cup squad there are only 30 players going (to New Zealand) and there's a squad of 44 players training, so 14 guys will miss out.

"I was happy enough with the way I played at the weekend, it wasn't the most expansive game I've played in.

"The first game of the season is always difficult and it was a test game as well," he added.

Describing himself as "a groundhog seven" Ronan was last year called up to the Irish squad that played in Australia and New Zealand and if not selected in the original squad for the World Cup he will maintain hope of getting a call up until the last minute.

This week Ronan travels to La Rochelle with Munster as Tony McGahan's team continue their pre-season preparations while Irish manager Kidney will hand other players a chance to impress with the national team.

Ireland will play France, home and away, and England at the Aviva Stadium in the coming weeks.

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