O’Mahony faces six months out as Penney questions Muliaina signing

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Munster head coach Rob Penney
MUNSTER are set to be without captain Peter O’Mahony for the start of next season with the dynamic back-row forward undergoing keyhole surgery on his right shoulder in recent days.

MUNSTER are set to be without captain Peter O’Mahony for the start of next season with the dynamic back-row forward undergoing keyhole surgery on his right shoulder in recent days.

Munster confirmed that O’Mahony opted to have the keyhole surgery on his right shoulder at the same time as the 24-year-old is rehabbing his left shoulder injury.

While Munster coach Rob Penney was slow to indicate an exact timeline on O’Mahony’s return to action, he estimated that it could be up to six months. Penney was speaking at UL this Tuesday where the squad was training ahead of their final regular season RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Ulster at Thomond Park this Saturday, 6.30pm.

Coach Penney also questioned whether the announcement by Connacht this week that they had acquired the services of 33-year-old All-Black legend Mils Muliaina on a one-year deal for next season would benefit Irish rugby.

Penney said: “Around the Connacht one, having been here for a couple of years the frustration is around their ability to fund those new recruits.

“What’s (the Muliaina signing) it doing for Irish rugby? All the other provinces are obligated to have X amount or limited players at their disposal in terms of overseas or ineligible (for Ireland) players except Connacht who have obviously got a bit of a hand-up.

“They need a bit of a hand-up, but let’s keep it real as well. There is a lot of work going on in the other three unions, Connacht just seem to get it a little easier. If they’re able to recruit players at the level that they’ve signed, then I’d just wonder if it’s the right thing for Irish rugby.

“There are a lot of good Irish lads who are just not getting access. We’ve got some in our environment and I’m sure Ulster and Leinster have as well.

“There are guys in the English Premiership who would love to be playing in Ireland and they’re Irish eligible. I’d just wonder if it is in the best interests of the game, but obviously other people deem that to be the case.”

Third-placed Munster are already assured of a semi-final place in the PRO12 ahead of Saturday’s inter-pro clash. However, Penney’s men are unlikely to leapfrog second-placed Glasgow, necessary in order to secure home advantage in the play-offs.

Hooker Duncan Casey will meet with a specialist tomorrow after injuring his shoulder in last weekend’s win over Edinburgh, while winger Andrew Conway underwent a scan on a sprained foot yesterday. Scrum-half Cathal Sheridan returned to Munster training this week for the first time since breaking a bone in his arm against the Ospreys in February.