The news that Paul O’Connell has now joined David Wallace on the long term iinjured list may seem bad news from an Irish international point of view but is a much more severe blow for Munster
>Munster team manager Jerry Holland’s first concern however was for the players, ” First of all, we are very happy that both players have come through their respective operations sucessfully and we wish them a speedy recovery.” he said.
” Obviously it’s bad news for both players, coming as it does at the start of the season. From a Munster point of view it means we will be without key players for the Celtic League and Heineken Cup campaigns. However, as is always the case, their absence does provide opportunities for others.”
” We are happy with the strength of the squad. We do have places yet to fill and in light of these injuries we will be looking at these particular positions before finalising our squad.”
Neither player were expected to take much part in the Celtic League because of their international commmitments. However it’s in the Heineken Cup that Munster will sorely miss them. They will miss the opening four games which include Gloucester away in the first game – a formidable task even with a full squad to pick from – Perpignan in Limerick and the back-to-back clash with Viadana. Wallace has to be doubtful for the January games which leaves Munster with a decision to make before registration for the competition in mid-September.
At this stage of the year finding replacements for players of such quality is difficult in the extreme but as Holland says there is now an opportunity for the likes of Mick O’Driscoll and Donnacha O’Callaghan to stake their claim, not just for a permanent place in the Munster side but also in the international squad in the run up to the World Cup.
And any thoughts that Mick Galwey might have entertained of slipping quietly into the shadows can now be shelved.