O’Connell facing an anxious wait following incident which left Kearney concussed
Munster captain could be cited for dangerous challenge
A dejected Paul O’Connell leaves the field following the defeat by Leinster at Thomond Park. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
Paul O’Connell and Munster will find out today if the citing commissioner at Saturday's derby in Thomond Park, Eddie Walsh, will cite the Munster captain for accidentally kicking a prostrate Dave Kearney on the side of the head during the second half.
Kearney was detained overnight in hospital and released yesterday, and the citing commissioner has 50 hours from kick-off to make that decision.
O’Connell was clearly endeavouring to kick the ball as Kearney presented it on the ground with an extended arm, the winger having also been taken out in the air accidentally by Simon Zebo in retrieving an Isaac Boss box kick for his troubles. O’Connell checked on the Leinster player’s well-being afterwards. But it could certainly be deemed a reckless challenge.
Kearney suffered concussion and is likely to be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks according to Joe Schmidt. Both Leinster and Munster are likely to rotate their squad away to Zebre and the Dragons next weekend after the demands of the last fortnight and with a return to European action the week after next in mind.
Munster especially had to back up their epic Heineken Cup quarter-final win away to Harlequins with another full-on encounter of similar physicality just six days later and, out of contention for the Pro12 play-offs, they face a daunting trek to Montpellier to face Heineken Cup favourites Clermont on Saturday week, with Donncha O’Callaghan’knee injury their only injury concern.
Penney said he was proud of the team. “What disappointed me most was that the boys weren’t rewarded for their effort. On the back of the six-day turnaround and the emotional rollercoaster they have been on, to put in a performance like that and not get any reward for it is the most disappointing thing for me. It could have gone either way.
“There were certain elements where we just didn’t capitalise against a very good Leinster side. They capitalised on a couple of things that went their way and that was the ball game. The result is not what we wanted today but we couldn’t be critical of the performance.”
Leinster lock Quinn Roux suffered a dead leg and Gordon D’Arcy a strained calf, which prompted his withdrawal for fear of him sustaining a tear.
Misgivings aside about Dave Kearney’s concussion, the TMO’s puzzling decision not to award Rob Kearney a fourth-minute try and Brian O’Driscoll being blocked by James Downey for the Felix Jones try, Schmidt was delighted with a sleeves-rolled-up win which returns them to the top two.
Wins away to Zebre and at home to bogey side the Ospreys will secure a home semi-final for the fourth season running.
The nature of the conditions brought out a typically industrious display by man of the match Isaac Boss.
“I was delighted with Isaac,” enthused Schmidt. “He brought a physical edge around the fringes . . . I think he’s probably a deserving man for that award.”