Mick Kearney: Every possibility Ronan O'Gara will play for Ireland again
Last Updated: March 5, 2013 8:46am
Ronan O'Gara's omission from the Ireland squad for Saturday's clash with France does not signal the end of his international career, according to Mick Kearney.
The Munster fly-half was dropped for the first time in 13 years after head coach Declan Kidney opted for Leinster duo Jonathan Sexton and Ian Madigan and Ulster's Paddy Jackson.
O'Gara, who turns 36 on Thursday, has paid the price for dismal displays in the Six Nations defeats to England and Scotland, but Ireland team manager Kearney says he could force his way back into the reckoning.
"I don't think this marks the end of Ronan's international career," he said. "There's still every possibility that he may be involved again.
"By leaving him out of the squad for France, it certainly wasn't Declan's intention that he was writing off his international career. That's not the case at all.
"It's a selection call. Declan spoke to Ronan on Sunday. He wanted to give Ronan advance warning of what his thinking would be.
"If Ronan had come in he'd have been running in the centre or on the wing. Out of respect, Declan didn't want him to do that.
"Giving him an early warning was the right thing to do, given who Ronan is. He was disappointed, as you'd expect him to be."
Sexton remains a doubt for Saturday's clash in Dublin due to the hamstring injury sustained against England, with Jackson and Madigan ready to deputise.
"Jonny has only been running in straight lines. The plan is that on Tuesday he will run as close as possible at full speed and take it on from then. It will be a very important day," Kearney said.
"It's very difficult to make a call at this stage. He hasn't been ruled out, but at best he's 50-50. He's done no kicking yet."
Lock Donnacha Ryan and wing Craig Gilroy are doubts because of shoulder and groin injuries, but second row Mike McCarthy has returned to full training after recovering from a knee problem.