Tommy O'Donnell fitness boost for Munster but Jack O'Donoghue laid low

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent at UL

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent at UL

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Tommy O'Donnell fitness boost for Munster but Jack O'Donoghue laid low

Munster's fit-again back-rower Tommy O'Donnell is tackled by Ulster duo Tommy O'Donnell of Munster is tackled by Ulster's Wiehahn Herbst, left, and Rob Herring

MUNSTER have been boosted ahead of the start of the new season by the return to fitness of back-row Tommy O’Donnell who had been sidelined since March.

O’Donnell has not featured for the province since March when he injured his shoulder in a Guinness Pro14 clash with the Scarlets.

O’Donnell’s return to the full fitness has seen the back-rower called up to the Ireland squad for a pre-season camp at Carton House.

However, Munster report mixed news on the injury front as another back-rower Jack O’Donoghue is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

O’Donoghue sustained a serious knee injury against Leinster in the Guinness Pro14  semi-final clash at the RDS in May and will be out of action for several months.

Munster are also set to begin the new season without the services of a number of other injured players, including Chris Farrell, Chris Cloete and Tyler Bleyendaal.

After six weeks of pre-season training, the Munster squad face London Irish in the first of their two pre-season friendlies on the new 3G playing surface at Musgrave Park Park on Friday night, 7.30pm.

Munster have also been boosted by the return to full training of their South African second-row Jean Kleyn, who ended last season with a routine ankle procedure.

Stephen Archer, who sustained a pec injury against Edinburgh in early May, is advancing with his rehabilitation and is expected to make a return in the opening stage of the new campaign.

Sammy Arnold (knee) and Niall Scannell (shoulder) required respective minor knee and shoulder procedures during the off-season and are progressing well with their return to play rehabilitation.

Conor Oliver undergoing surgery earlier this week after sustaining a foot injury during a gym session.

Those continuing to rehab longer-term injuries include Liam O’Connor (knee) and Ronan O’Mahony (ankle).