The Irish Winter Olympic team has been announced today, with a quartet of athletes competeting for Ireland in the 2006 Winter Games.

Wicklow's David Connolly qualified for the Skeleton event in Germany earlier this week, completing the Irish line-up for the Games.

Connolly will join top skiers Kirsty McGarry (Dublin), Thos Foley (Kerry) and Rory Morrish (Cork) in Turin where Ireland will be one of 75 nations seeking Olympic honours.

There is still an outside chance of the Hoey sisters Siobhan and Aoife qualifying for the women's bobsleigh, after they missed out on qualification by just one place but they are relying on a fall-out from a crew ahead of them to get a place.

The Irish athletes for Turin are all Olympic first-timers and will be managed by Clifton Wrottesley who missed out on a medal by a fraction of a second in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Announcing the team, Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey said that the small, but select, squad would represent Ireland with pride, passion and total commitment.

"For a non-alpine nation, Ireland's growing stature in winter sports is remarkable and one in which we have an excellent sporting future," he said.

"More and more Irish people are taking winter sports holidays and this has fuelled the interest in a major way."

Over 2,500 athletes will be competing in 15 winter sports in eleven major centres in the city and the surrounding Piedmont alpine region from February 10th to 26th.

The Opening Ceremony of the Games will take place in the Olympic Stadium, Turin, on Friday February 10th.