Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll made his long-awaited return from a dislocated right shoulder in Leinster’s 24-19 Celtic League win against Ulster on Monday night. Click here for photos.
Pictured above: Brian O’Driscoll gets through some tackle bag work with Leinster before kick-off at a jam-packed Ravenhill. Having not played since injurying his shoulder in the now infamous spear-tackling incident early on in the first Test of the Lions tour, O’Driscoll said of his 30-minute cameo against Ulster: “I felt pretty good out there. It wasn’t the quickest game in the world which probably suited me. It’s a game that I’ve been looking forward to and it’s great to get it under my belt.
“It’s only 30 minutes play so you can’t get too far ahead of yourself. It’s going to take five or six games to get the match-fitness but hopefully I’ll get a bit more pitch-time against Munster at the weekend.”
Brian O’Driscoll communicates with Leinster’s outside backs at Ravenhill. With less than six weeks to go before the start of the 2006 Six Nations, the 26-year-old Dubliner will be determined to prove his fitness in Leinster’s upcoming Heineken Cup Pool Five ties against Glasgow (home) and Bath (away). O’Driscoll could also see action in his province’s Celtic League outings against Munster (home), Llanelli (away) and the Borders (home) over the next four weeks.
Brian O’Driscoll scraps for possession with Ulster’s up-and-coming centre star Andrew Trimble. The latter filled O’Driscoll number 13 shirt against Australia and Romania during Ireland’s autumn International series, scoring two tries in the process against the eastern Europeans.
Brian O’Driscoll tries to break the Ulster defensive line with Andrew Trimble in close attendance.
Brian O’Driscoll holds onto possession despite being wrestled to the ground in Belfast. Despite making his Celtic League debut back in its inaugural year of 2001, O’Driscoll has only played 19 times in the competition – scoring 10 tries.
Brian O’Driscoll tries to step past Andrew Trimble as Leinster attempt to hold onto a slim lead going into the final quarter. They did – with Felipe Contepomi’s fourth penalty strike, on 78 minutes, confirming their 24-19 victory.
**All photos by Lorraine O’Sullivan of Inpho Photography**