Frustrated Fitzgerald back in the frame for Leinster

Winger fit to train again as province prepare for Dragons clash

Luke Fitzgerald takes a watching brief at a recent Irish training session. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Luke Fitzgerald takes a watching brief at a recent Irish training session. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 01:00

In a perfect world Luke Fitzgerald and Eoin Reddan would be deemed fit enough to line out for Leinster at home to the Dragons tomorrow evening.

Fitzgerald, it turns out, damaged his groin and/or an abductor muscle playing for Leinster in round six of the Heineken Cup against the Ospreys on January 17th.

The form winger in the country subsequently missed Ireland’s opening Six Nations victories over Scotland and Wales.

To feature
Nor did the 26-year-old recover sufficiently to feature in Leinster’s away victory against Italian side Zebre last Sunday.

“He trained today so we just have to see how he responds to that session,” O’Connor said.

“All things being equal you would like him to be involved this weekend but it is just one of those things.”

When pressed on Fitzgerald’s fitness, O’Connor said he completed training. When did the injury occur?

“I think it was in the Ospreys game in the Heineken Cup when he pulled up tight,” O’Connor explained. “I think it was the groin. After that he didn’t do a lot of training with the Irish group and hadn’t recovered subsequently to play against Zebre.

“Yeah, he looked good today, trained well.

“Redser is about the same. He picked up a calf strain in that (Ospreys) game, had a bit of a re-strain with Ireland at Carton House. He has done all his recovery, ticked all the boxes and should be involved as well.”

O’Connor will include the Leinster players on Ireland’s bench of late while Mike McCarthy has already returned from a nasty facial injury.

“We got six or seven blokes back who, selection permitting, will try and fit into that group.”

With six Leinster frontrowers in the Ireland 23, it appears that Sean Cronin, Marty Moore and Jack McGrath will be released by Joe Schmidt along with Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden and Isaac Boss.

Having fully recovered from a hand injury to get back into Schmidt’s match day squad, McFadden agreed yesterday that wing options have never been so competitive.

“I think the wings are probably the most competitive position now. It’s about getting the best out of certain players.

“Trimby wasn’t really in the mix come November but he put in some good performances and is now back in there.

“Tommy Bowe is injured and Simon Zebo and Craig Gilroy can’t get in the squad. When you look at those quality players who can’t get in it puts an emphasis on how competitive a position it is,” added McFadden.