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Injuries Clearing Ahead Of Munster’s European Opener

Injuries Clearing Ahead Of Munster’s European Opener

The indications are that second row Donncha O’Callaghan will be included in the Munster squad for their Heineken Cup pool opener against Racing Metro 92 after he underwent a scan yesterday on a hamstring injury.

The hamstring injury forced Donncha O’Callaghan off early in the second half of the 30-21 loss to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.

Hooker Mike Sherry left the Dublin 4 ground on crutches but merely as a precaution after he twisted an ankle during the course of the game.

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The pair are expected to be fit to face the French side on Saturday along with prop Marcus Horan who should be in contention after recovering from an eye injury.

A decision on Niall Ronan’s fitness will be made after it is seen how he comes through training this week – the flanker has been nursing a groin injury.

The participation of Paul O’Connell in the clash with Racing Metro 92 remains in some doubt. Knee and back injuries have meant a delayed start to the season for the former captain and it is unclear, at present, if he will be able to line out on Saturday afternoon.

There was positive news for the Munster management over the weekend with the return to action of winger Luke O’Dea who played for his club side Shannon, while Johne Murphy is back to full fitness and fellow back Felix Jones will be in action ahead of schedule in the coming weeks.

Munster’s trip to Paris this weekend is being talked up as ‘a defining game’ in their season. The importance of gettinng a positive result has certainly been heightened by successive losses to the Ospreys and Leinster in the league.

But head coach Rob Penney does not share that view, admitting: “I think, barring the Ospreys where I thought we were below par, I actually think we’re doing some really good things. We are close but we’re not quite getting over the line.

“So I don’t think this game, this next game, defines us at all. I think we’re still going through a lot of learning. We’ve got to get there at some point.

“I can’t commend the boys highly enough for their endeavour and their effort. And we’ve just got to get the accuracy aspect both offensively and defensively right.”

He added: “So again, I don’t think next week defines our season. I think there’s a lot of footy to go. I think our ability to produce good performances on a consistent basis, and when we’ve got a foot on the throat, to be able to nail the opportunities that are presented to us is not happening at the moment.

“To say that next week defines our season, or the next two weeks even defines our season I think is a bit harsh, a bit short-sighted, given that we’ve some lads that are new to this.

“Any real opportunity for them to play is a growing opportunity. And I, for one, am really positive about the direction that they are headed.”