There is no surprise with the inclusion of James Cronin in Munster’s Heineken Cup squad following his late call-up last season when he was one of three additional players nominated ahead of the knockout stages.
But this time around, no doubt, James Cronin’s sights are firmly set on a first Heineken Cup appearance in the upcoming rounds following on from his recent Munster performances.
Joining the 22-year-old prop is young scrum half Cathal Sheridan, another late inclusion last season, and development hooker Duncan Casey. The uncapped Casey was named in last year’s panel but like Cronin and Sheridan has yet to make an appearance at European level.
Fellow development hooker Niall Scannell has also been named in the panel. It is the former Ireland Under-20 captain’s first time to be included in Munster’s Heineken Cup squad along with CJ Stander, Ronan O’Mahony, Ian Nagle, Alan Cotter and Andrew Conway.
With the competition for places peaking in the last few weeks, head coach Rob Penney’s decision to omit a back row player was forced in the end with the knee injury sustained by Tommy O’Donnell who could be unavailable for up to three months.
Other notable absentees from the 38-man squad are Luke O’Dea, who is recovering from a wrist injury, and Gerhard van den Heever, the South African who is set to join Munster at the conclusion of the Currie Cup in November, subject to being granted a work permit.
Munster may register up to two additional players during the pool stages – each to replace a player previously registered – and if two additional players are selected one such player must be front row cover.
MUNSTER 2013/14 Heineken Cup Squad – Backs (15): Denis Hurley, Felix Jones, Simon Zebo, Keith Earls, Ronan O’Mahony, James Downey, Johne Murphy, Casey Laulala, Ivan Dineen, Andrew Conway, Ian Keatley, JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray, Cathal Sheridan, Duncan Williams.
Forwards (23): Stephen Archer, BJ Botha, Alan Cotter, James Cronin, David Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Duncan Casey, Mike Sherry, Damien Varley, David Foley, Billy Holland, Ian Nagle, David O’Callaghan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Donnacha Ryan, Paddy Butler, Sean Dougall, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Niall Ronan, CJ Stander, James Coughlan.