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O’Driscoll An Absentee For Munster

O’Driscoll An Absentee For Munster

Mick O’Driscoll is the only player from last weekend’s matchday squad to be excluded from the 26-man panel named by the Munster management for Sunday’s crucial Magners League clash with the Cardiff Blues.

The Cork-born lock sustained an ankle injury in the Heineken Cup semi-final loss to Biarritz Olympique and misses out for the trip to Cardiff as Munster look to secure their place in the inaugural Magners League semi-finals.

Munster are fourth in the table, occupying the final semi-final spot, and a return of at least two points at Cardiff City Stadium would be enough to see Tony McGahan’s men through to the play-offs – ahead of Cardiff (fifth) and Edinburgh (sixth).

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Munster have a four-point lead over Cardiff and Edinburgh and cannot afford to slip up, as they did at home to the Ospreys last time out in the league.

Team captain Paul O’Connell (groin) and wingers Doug Howlett (hamstring) and Ian Dowling (knee) continue to be  sidelined.

Commenting on Sunday’s showdown with the Blues, Munster full-back Paul Warwick said: “Our season is not over. We have to put the Biarritz defeat aside and move on.

“The Cardiff game is our only focus now. We are in a position whereby if we lose that game, our season could be over. The game is our sole focus now.

“There is huge desire and ambition still within the squad – that will never be questioned with the talent we have in our dressing room. We want to defend our league title and win some more silverware.”

MUNSTER Squad (v Cardiff Blues) – Backs (11): Tomas O’Leary, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Paul Warwick, Lifeimi Mafi, Jean de Villiers, Danny Barnes, Denis Hurley, Keith Earls, Scott Deasy, Tom Gleeson.

Forwards (15): Marcus Horan, Tony Buckley, Julien Brugnaut, Dave Ryan, John Hayes, Damien Varley, Jerry Flannery, Denis Fogarty, Billy Holland, Donncha O’Callaghan, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Nick Williams, James Coughlan, Niall Ronan.