Karl Lacey is in the Ireland International Rules squad and preparing to head to Autralia this weekend along with his county colleagues Michael Murphy and Neil McGee.
The Four Masters man, who was a surprise omission from the squad when manager Anthony Tohill finalised his panel at the end of last week, was called into the squad by the Derry man on Tuesday night.
Tohill made the call after Kerry’s Darran O’Sullivan opted out of the squad after his club Mid- Kerry qualified for the Kerry county championship final on Sunday week, two days after the first test in Melbourne.
“Naturally, I’m delighted to get the call-up. I was disappointed last week when I did not make the cut, but with doubts over so many players’ availability, I never gave up hope completely. But I still was a little surprised when I got the call,” said Karl.
“I’m really looking forward to the trip and hopefully facing the Australians in the two test games. It is brilliant too that Michael (Murphy) and Neil (McGee) are in the squad and part of the set up and I suppose it reflects the current standing of Donegal football to have three men in the squad.”
Lacey looks set to pick up a third All-Star on Friday night at the annual All-Stars banquet in Dublin and in doing so become Donegal’s most decorated All-Star.
He is one of nine nominees for one of the three half-back positions and is being widely tipped in the national media as a shoe-in for his third award to add to the ones he picked up in 2006 and 2009.
He is one of nine members of the Ireland squad along with Michael Murphy and Neil McGee that will fly out from Dublin airport to Melbourne on Saturday who are nominated.
The main Ireland party are due to depart tomorrow (Friday), with Karl and the rest of the All-Star nominees in the panel forced to delay their departure until after tomorrow night’s All-Star function.
Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton and Colm Begley from Laois have also delayed their departure until after their club Parnell’s play their Dublin quarter-final on Sunday.
Ireland will play Australia in two International Rules Test games in the course of their three weeks Down Under. The first test is in the Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, next Friday night, November 4th, with the second game seven days later in the Mericon Stadium, on the Gold Coast. The throw-in time for the first test is 11.45 p.m. Irish time.
Meanwhile, Paul Durcan, Frank McGlynn, Kevin Cassidy and Colm McFadden are also in the running for All-Star Awards on Friday night. All four along with the three Aussie bound Donegal men are among the 45 nominees for All-Stars.
While Karl Lacey is bidding for a third, Kevin Cassidy is chasing a second having previously picked up his first back nine years ago in 2002.
Paul Durcan, Frank McGlynn, Neil McGee and Colm McFadden are all first time nominees with Lacey, McGee and Cassidy seen as in with the best chance of picking up awards.
Mark McHugh is also in the running for the Young Player of the Year award. He is one of three nominees for the award along with James McCarthy, Dublin and Cillian O’Connor, Mayo.