All focus on Munster for O’Connell

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Paul O’Connell says he wants to get as fit as he can, as quick as he can as Munster enter the crucial final stages of their season.

Paul O’Connell says he wants to get as fit as he can, as quick as he can as Munster enter the crucial final stages of their season.

O’Connell played his first full game for Munster in almost a year when he gave a man of the match performance against Connacht last Saturday and he’s keen to play as much as he can over the coming weeks.

Munster, who currently lie sixth, have four remaining games in the RaboDirect PRO12 as they fight for a semi-final place and they also face Harlequins in the Heineken Cup quarter-final on Sunday week, April 7.

“I found the game very tough”, said O’Connell. “But I was happy to play the full game. I found the other two games tougher (the games he played with Munster A and Young Munster) so I suppose the body is adapting.”

Despite not playing for Ireland in the Six Nations or the Autumn Internationals, O’Connell is still in with a chance of touring Australia with the Lions,. At the moment, however, he says his full focus is on Munster and he says the last time he spoke to Lions head coach Warren Gatland was over a year ago when Ireland played Wales in the Six Nations.

“I just was to get back playing well for Munster, “ he added. “There’s a lot of media coverage about the Lions but I’m just trying to ignore it and stay as focussed as I can on my own fitness and my own preparation and not get distracted by anything else.

“We want to have as many games in front of us as possible. I’d love to play as many games as possible up to the summer break and see what happens from there. The longer the season goes for me the better.”

Munster travel to second-placed Glasgow this weekend needing a win to keep their league hopes alive. Glasgow, Leinster and Ulster look almost certain of a semi-final place with Munster, the Ospreys and the Scarlets battling it out for the last spot. Munster are currently seven points behind the Welsh duo.

“Ideally we’d have like to get the bonus against Connacht but we just have to go over and get a result against Glasgow this weekend and give ourselves an opportunity. We’ve four games left in the Rabo and we have to produce four wins.”

Munster will welcome back Conor Murray, Donnacha Ryan and Peter O’Mahony this weekend.