A 45-man squad is set to meet before Christmas in what is a new era after Joe Schmidt.
The 33-year-old full-back has had a Test career that has spanned over twelve years, but many suspected that the World Cup may have been his last hurrah in green.
After amassing 95 caps for his country, as well as three for the British and Irish Lions, fans on social media are marking this as the end to an era.
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However, when it came to the crunch matches in Japan, Schmidt turned to the player he depended on in the No15 shirt throughout his tenure.
No Rob Kearney. End of an era. https://t.co/SEgpDhtV6B
— Robin Cafolla (@RobinCafolla) December 16, 2019
However, Farrell’s judgement has not be clouded by such a bond and at the beginning of a new RWC cycle, he may have made the decision to look to the new generation, given that Kearney will be 37 come the next RWC finals.
No Rob Kearney, end of an era?
— Rua Rogan (@DancingSpuds) December 16, 2019
That's some way to mark the end of a legends career – Ireland's greatest ever fullback . Only player to start every match of 2 Grand Slams and beat ABs twice. #respect
— ger (@stranglemint) December 16, 2019
Some fans have described him as Ireland’s greatest full-back, as he has been at the heart of all their success since his debut against Argentina in 2007, which includes two Grand Slams, two further Six Nations titles, as well as Ireland’s historic wins over the All Blacks.
Harsh on Rob Kearney on a personal level but if the ambition is to win the RWC in 2023 then people like Larmour, Farrell, Stockdale, Lowe and even Ringrose need to be tried. https://t.co/Mfs56ecRGf
— Yesser #LabourRebuild Hughes (@WatchPopulistIr) December 16, 2019
8 of the 33 Ireland players who went to the Rugby World Cup have not made Farrell's first squad as head coach:
Jack Conan (injured)
Tadhg Beirne (injured)
Rory Best (retired)
Ryan, Cronin & Kearney are all over 30
— Simon Gleave (@SimonGleave) December 16, 2019
If this is the end of Rob Kearneys international career then a word for him after his omission from the Ireland squad. A superb 15 who was as solid under the high ball as you get. Massive 2009 Lions series. All round modern day great player. #IrelandRugby #RobKearney #No15
— Graeme Peacock (@graemepeacock05) December 16, 2019
Maybe the end of international rugby but he's got lots in the tank legend ??
— tony burton (@tpstony) December 16, 2019
Of course, the door may not be completely closed on the Leinster player as this is not the definitive squad for the Six Nations.
But with his starts for his province expected to be less frequent this season, particularly after the RWC, he may find it hard to work his way back into the reckoning. The question is whether he can rely on his reputation.
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