MUNSTER have received a timely boost ahead of Saturday’s big Heineken Cup opener away to Racing Metro with confirmation that Donncha O’Callaghan, Marcus Horan and Mike Sherry look set to be included in the squad for the trip to the Stade de France (1.35pm Irish time).
Second row O’Callaghan, who was forced to retire with a hamstring problem during the weekend’s PRO12 defeat to Leinster, had a scan yesterday and indications are he’ll be in the squad for the opening round game with Racing Metro in Paris when its announced later in the week.
Prop Marcus Horan is also expected to be in contention for a place in the squad after recovering from a facial injury picked up while playing for Shannon in their recent AIL clash with Young Munster. A decision on flanker Niall Ronan’s inclusion in the Rob Penney’s squad to face the Top 14 side, will be delayed until its seen how he comes through training this week.
Hooker Mick Sherry left the Aviva Stadium on Saturday on crutches as a precaution after he twisted an ankle. Winger Luke O’Dea returned to action with his club Shannon in their defeat to Lansdowne, while Johne Murphy has returned to full fitness as has Felix Jones who will be back in action ahead of schedule in the coming weeks.
Munster face into a busy fortnight on two fronts, with games in both the Heineken Cup and British and Irish Cup. While Penney takes the senior side to Paris, Ian Costello will be heading for the south of England with the ‘A’ team to begin the defence of the British and Irish Cup against Plymouth Albion.
Costello will be pleased with the form of several of his core players who were involved in club League action last weekend. Barry O’Mahony, Corey Hircock and Ronan O’Mahony turned out for Garryowen in their impressive victory over Clontarf. In the UL-Bohs v Cork Constitution tie at Annacotty, JJ Hanrahan, Sean Henry and Tommy O’Donnell came up against Munster teammates Scott Deasy, John Ryan plus Academy players, Johnny Holland, Cathal O’Flaherty and Brian O’Hara. Brian Haugh (Munster Academy) kicked a conversion and three penalties in Young Munster’s win over St Mary’s while Darren Sweetnam made his club debut for UCC. Danny Barnes and Christy Condon featured for Dolphin alongside Academy players Cian Bohane, James Cronin and Ireland U20 captain Niall Scannell.