Hanrahan gets the nod for Munster as Keatley out of action

Munster outhalf JJ Hanrahan ahead of this weekend's game against the Cardiff Blues in Cardiff

Munster are set to start JJ Hanrahan at out-half in Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Cardiff as Ian Keatley has been ruled out of the game with a hip/groin injury.

Coach Rob Penney issued upbeat medical reports on a number of the province’s long-term injury worries.

Donnacha Ryan, who has been out of action with a knee injury picked up against Gloucester last month, ‘has had a pretty good report from the specialist’ with Penney indicating that the international second row should return to action before Christmas.

Winger Simon Zebo is also said to be recovering well from a foot injury, but remains ‘a month or six weeks away’ from a return to action.

Keith Earls, who was included in Ireland’s squad for the autumn internationals, ‘could be back in the next couple of weeks’ after being sidelined with a knee injury, according to Penney.

Kiwi Penney revealed that back-row forward Tommy O’Donnell is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee injury.

“Tommy O’Donnell is progressing really well,” Penney said.

“His timeline was maybe around Christmas time. Tommy is probably a week or so ahead of schedule in terms of that. He is excited and we are wrapped and so is the specialist.”

Denis Hurley and Ian Nagle have resumed full training. Munster, who have beaten PRO12 title contenders Leinster, Glasgow and Ospreys in their three most recent outings in the competition are one-point ahead of the second-placed Warriors in the table. Munster face the Dragons in Rodney Parade on Friday week, November 29.

Saturday’s game against Cardiff is in the

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