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O’Callaghan Expects Hot Reception From Westerners

O’Callaghan Expects Hot Reception From Westerners

With Connacht on the cusp of completing a famous clean sweep of victories over their fellow provinces in Galway this season, Munster lock Donncha O’Callaghan is expecting quite a battle when the sides collide at the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm).

The Munster squad assembled today at the University of Limerick to begin preparations for their return to RaboDirect PRO12 action and the pre-Christmas trip to Galway.

And though there was nothing of a serious note to emerge on the injury front as a result of the bruising encounter with Saracens, the likes of Felix Jones, Doug Howlett, Ronan O’Gara and Peter O’Mahony did sit out the session.

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The players who started in the November internationals will not be involved with Munster on Saturday evening, but Donncha O’Callaghan did take a full part in training this afternoon and the Corkman is hopeful that he will be included in the matchday squad.

“Absolutely, I hope so. It’s the best way really of getting that (last Sunday’s defeat to Saracens) out of the system,” admitted O’Callaghan.

“It was a disappointing result and particularly when you saw the amount of Munster people who turned up to support us.

“Honest to God, at one stage, it was amost like we were playing at Thomond Park with the noise they were making. It was incredible, but our fans are incredible.

“The thing is to park it now. For the next few weeks. When we come back for the last two (Heineken Cup) pool games, we’ll be all the more determined to make it up to them.”

Turning his attention to the derby clash with Connacht, the Ireland lock said: “You always know what you’re going to get when you go to the Sportsground. It’s a tough place to go.

“Connacht are a stronger outfit now after a couple of years of Heineken Cup. We saw what they did to Biarritz there (in recent weeks) and I don’t imagine they’ve anything less than that planned for us.”

Connacht said on Monday that ticket sales for the interprovincial fixture have been ‘phenomenal’ with the upper Enclosed Area, Clan Stand Terrace and Main Stand Terrace already sold out. There are less than 1,000 tickets remaining behind the posts at each end of the pitch.

Connacht v Munster tickets are priced at just €;25 for adults and €;5 for all children (Under-18s). They can be purchased from the Connacht Rugby Branch or online here.