Click here for photos from Munster’s training session at Temple Hill and mid-week press conference ahead of tonight’s vital Heineken Cup Pool One meeting with Castres.
Pictured above: Munster lock Donncha O’Callaghan, who scored a try against Castres in October’s 42-16 win against the French side at Thomond Park, fields a pass at Temple Hill. O’Callaghan will once again partner Paul O’Connell in the second row for Munster tonight.
Paul Devlin, Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell at training in Temple Hill. Fly-half O’Gara needs just three more points to hit the 700-point mark. The Corkman made his Heineken Cup debut against Padova in 1998 and is by far and away the Heineken Cup’s record points scorer with 697 points. Former Stade Francais favourite Diego Dominguez ranks second on 645 while Clermont Auvergne’s Welsh wizard Stephen Jones is third ((575).
With Frankie Sheahan still recovering from a neck injury, Shannon’s Jerry Flannery has been ever-present in the Munster number 2 shirt throughout November and December. Flannery earned his first Ireland cap against Romania in the autumn Test series and his last Heineken Cup outing – December 17’s bonus point win against the Dragons at Thomond Park – saw him earn the man-of-the-match award.
Munster coach Declan Kidney surveying the scene at Temple Hill.
Donncha O’Callaghan engages in some tackle bag practice with Munster winger Anthony Horgan, who has lost his left wing berth to newcomer Ian Dowling, the 23-year-old former Kilkenny Towns Cup player, for the Castres game.
Munster captain Anthony Foley and coach Declan Kidney at Tuesday’s press conference. Foley will play in his 72nd Heineken Cup match and 155th competitive match in red tonight. Kidney said ahead of his side’s French test: “It is going to be a massive challenge for us. We know that the fact that they are out of contention for a place in the knock-out stages will mean absolutely nothing whatsoever.
“They will be looking to make up for the result in Thomond and they have a home record that they are both fiercely proud and protective about. When the Pools were announced and before a game was played we knew we would need a big performance in Castres so there’s nothing new there.”
**All photos by Neil Danton of Inpho Photography**