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Darren Hughes to replace Pearce Hanley for Saturday test

Monaghan’s Darren Hughes is flying out to Perth to replace the injured Pearce Hanley for Saturday’s deciding test in the Subiaco Oval, writes John Fogarty.

Hughes, an International Rules regular who has been on the last two previous trips to Australia, may not be the only addition as manager Joe Kernan continues to assess the health of Niall Murphy and Enda Smith who were ruled out of Saturday’s first test in Adelaide with a virus. Derry’s Hawthorn player Conor Glass could yet come into the group.

“Darren Hughes is on his way out,” confirmed Kernan. “He ticks all the boxes – he covers us in a lot of positions. It will be great to have him here. It’s unfortunate for Pearce, he was playing very well.

“We’ll assess the other boys [Smith and Murphy] first. We’ll wait and see how they are during the week. They couldn’t even go to the match yesterday. So I’ll sit down and talk to the doc later in the week and see how they are for next weekend.

“Those two boys got a bad going over. A few others had it too. Just didn’t go as bad. Hopefully, it’s contained now.”

Kernan felt Hanley’s hand injury affected them more than Scott Pendlebury’s similar setback did the Australians. Injuries are a fact of of life. These things happen. You can get injured in training as easily as in a game. It’s unfortunate for the two lads. It hit us more than them - Pearce was going well.”

The Ireland squad today head to the Western Australian resort of Mandurah, 72 kilometres outside Perth, where they will be based for the next couple of days before they head to the state’s capital. The Subiaco Oval is set to be a sell-out – in 2014 a crowd of 38,262 attend the game.