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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
O'Connor called into Irish squad
Wasps flanker Johnny O'Connor
Wasps flanker Johnny O'Connor is set to earn his first Irish cap
Wasps flanker Johnny O'Connor and Ulster winger Tommy Bowe have been named in the Ireland squad for the country's three autumn internationals.

Uncapped O'Connor will now be favourite to occupy the number seven jersey against South Africa on 13 November.

The Wasps man and another newcomer Denis Leamy are the only genuine openside flankers named in Eddie O'Sullivan's 30-man squad.

Ireland also face USA on 20 November and Argentina a week later.

Bowe, who earns his first Irish call-up after impressing for Ulster this season, acknowledged that he was shocked by his selection after less than a year in the provincial jersey.

"I just can't believe it and it has come completely out of the blue," said Bowe.

"One always hopes but I never expected it to come so soon. Just to be involved with the squad is absolutely brilliant."

There were reports that Ireland 'A' international O'Connor had been courted by England but Eddie O'Sullivan had always intended to include the 24-year-old in his squad for the three autumn games.

Tommy Bowe
Tommy Bowe made his Ulster debut last season

Kieron Dawson and Keith Gleeson are both unavailable for the openside flanker role because of injury while David Wallace is currently out of favour at Munster.

O'Connor has recovered superbly from an Achilles tendon operation last season and is now a key player with Warren Gatland's Heineken Cup holders.

Leamy, like O'Connor a former Ireland under-21 flanker, has gradually progressed in the Munster back row.

A fiery customer, the 23-year-old Leamy has that all-important nose for winning ball on the ground - an important asset in O'Sullivan's game plan.

Bowe is joined in the Irish squad by Ulster team-mates David Humphreys, Kevin Maggs and Simon Best.

Roger Wilson may hope to get one of the two vacant slots announced in the forwards while there is also one AN Other in the backs.

Munster's Donnacha O'Callaghan is included in the squad even though there is a doubt over his fitness.

The squad will assemble in Dublin on Monday, 1 November to prepare for the games against South Africa, US Eagles and Argentina.

Simon Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Shane Byrne (Blackrock College/Leinster), Reggie Corrigan (Greystones/Leinster), Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), Simon Easterby (LIaneli), Anthony Foley (Shannon/Munster), John Hayes (Shannon/Munster), Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster), Donnacha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster), Johnny O'Connor (Wasps), Malcolm O'Kelly (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Frankie Sheahan (Cork Constitution/Munster), AN Other, AN Other
Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Girvan Dempsey (Terenure College/Leinster), Guy Easterby (Blackrock College/Leinster), Denis Hickie (St Mary's College/Leinster), Anthony Horgan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Shane Horgan (Lansdowne/Leinster), David Humphreys (Dungannon/Ulster), Kevin Maggs (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Geordan Murphy (Leicester), Brian O'Driscoll (Blackrock College/Leinster), Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster), AN Other.

O'Connor in prime position
20 Oct 04  |  European Club
England 'target O'Connor'
04 Oct 04  |  Internationals
New faces ready to step up
19 Jan 04  |  Irish

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