Six Nations 2013: Ronan O'Gara's Ireland career could be over

 

Ronan O'Gara's Ireland career looks to be over after the fly-half was left out of a 32-man squad for the Six Nations game against France in Dublin.

O'Gara has struggled for form in recent weeks and Paddy Jackson was selected ahead of him for the defeat by Scotland after Jonathan Sexton was out injured.

Sexton has not yet been ruled out of Saturday's game, but Jackson and Ian Madigan have both been named as cover.

Andrew Trimble is back in the extended squad, with Robbie Diack also included.

The omission of O'Gara represents a major call by Irish coach Declan Kidney, who is under severe pressure after Ireland lost two of their opening three games.

Munster fly-half O'Gara is Ireland's most capped player with 128 appearances and also his country's all-time top points scorer on 1,083.

He won his first cap against Scotland in February 2000 and has been a key-part of the Ireland set-up ever since.

Sexton is still in contention to face the French as he continues his battle to overcome a hamstring strain, which ruled him out of the match at Murrayfield.

Last week Irish team manager Michael Kearney described Sexton's hopes of playing as "somewhat less than 50-50".

Andrew Trimble

Andrew Trimble is in contention for a starting place against France

His replacement Jackson struggled with his goal kicking against the Scots but the Ulster youngster performed well in his province's Pro12 draw with Benetton Treviso on Friday.

Prop Cian Healy is back in the panel after winning an appeal against the timing of his ban, but Dave Kilcoyne remains in the squad, while Ulster's Tom Court drops out.

Lock Donnacha Ryan is included despite still struggling with a shoulder injury while his fellow second row Mike McCarthy continues to nurse the knee problem which ruled him out of the Scotland defeat.

Wing Craig Gilroy sustained a groin strain at Murrayfield but should be able to resume training early next week.

However, Gordon D'Arcy's foot injury will be remain in a protective boot for another week so he is ruled out of the French game.

Winger Trimble has been out of favour since the autumn internationals but has been handed an international lifeline with his inclusion in the squad.

The Ulsterman could put pressure on Keith Earls for a starting place ahead of the contest with the French at the Aviva Stadium.

Diack is selected for a Six Nations squad for the first time, but is unlikely to figure in the matchday 23, with his provincial team-mate Dan Tuohy also named.

Ireland's successive Six Nations defeats have led to intense speculation that Kidney's Ireland contract will not be extended beyond this summer but the coach has continued to deflect questions about his future.

Kidney has also come under fire for handing the captaincy to Jamie Heaslip, who replaced the vastly experienced Brian O'Driscoll as skipper before the Championship, but the coach has reiterated his faith in the Leinster number eight.

"Jamie's done an excellent job for us. He's making good decisions and I'm very happy with him," Kidney said.

Ireland squad: Rory Best (Ulster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Robbie Diack (Ulster), Keith Earls (Munster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Dave Kearney (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Connacht), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster), Tommy O'Donnell (Munster), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Eoin O'Malley (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Jonathan Sexton (Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Devin Toner (Leinster) Dan Tuohy (Ulster).