FORMER Carlow rugby player, Tom Daly, is delighted the news that broke earlier in the week that confirmed his place in a 37 man Irish squad for the Vodafone Summer Series which features two internationals in July against Japan and the USA at the Aviva Stadium.
The match against Japan on Saturday 3 July will kick off at 1pm and the fixture against the USA on Saturday 10 July will kick off at 7.15pm.
Both fixtures are part of the government’s outdoor pilot sport event programme which will see limited supporters back in the Aviva Stadium.
James Ryan has been named captain during the Vodafone Summer Series and Daly is one of 11 uncapped players in the squad. The Ballon sportsman was at home over the weekend and he spoke to The Nationalist yesterday morning before heading back West.
“Nice bit of news to get on a Monday morning. It was announced publicly a half an hour ago but I found out yesterday. It is unbelievable and Ed (Byrne) is in there too. Nice to have two of us in there,” said Daly who was still walking on air after getting the news.
“I am heading back to Galway now where we are training this week and I go into camp next week,” he explained.
The news was not totally unexpected as he explained.
“It has probably been my best season and it is nice to get the recognition for my performances. I know I was close to the Six Nations squad because Andy Farrell (Ireland manager) had called me the night before to tell me I had been close and keep going. I have done that over the last few weeks and with a number of Irish players gone with the Lions squad it has opened the door for me. Luckily it has happened.”
He also captained the Connacht team in the Rainbow Cup series so there was no fall off in intensity for the Connacht player. Daly was at the coal face as the club year was coming to an end but his form held and now comes his reward.
“Two games, Japan and USA, if I am involved in one I will be delighted. It is just great to be in there with a chance of getting my first cap. It will be good as it is in the Aviva and hopefully a small crowd will be allowed in. It would be nice to have family and girlfriend in there as well,” commented Daly.
Andy Farrell, Ireland head coach, said, “We now have two games at home to focus on which will be a good challenge for the group. Japan played the Sunwolves at the weekend and will play the Lions the week before we play at the Aviva Stadium and we know the quality of their squad from the World Cup. We will assemble as a squad on the 22 June and begin our preparations for the two games.”