Keane's return gives Kidney small comfort


Munster coach Declan Kidney received mixed blessings in relation to an injury crux that threatened to spiral out of control in recent weeks for Saturday's European Cup clash with Perpignan in France.

Centre Michael Lynch and international scrum-half Brian O'Meara, both of whom played in the inter-provincial success over Ulster last weekend, have been ruled out through injury. Knee damage suffered by O'Meara may keep him sidelined until the end of the month.

Lynch, who kicked 11 points in the Munster match, will be replaced by a fit-again Killian Keane, off-setting any loss both in terms of playing ability and placekicking. Cian Mahony, who missed Saturday's game at Musgrave Park with a late bout of flu, returns in the centre.

John Kelly moves back to the right wing to the exclusion of John Lacey, a try scorer the last day. UCC student Peter Stringer, who came on against Ulster, claims the number nine jersey in the absence of O'Meara, Tom Tierney and Steve McIvor, all of whom are injured.

Sunday's Well scrum-half Eddie Hogan O'Connell, recently returned from the United States, will be on the bench. Cork Constitution centre Brian Walsh is among the replacements with Conor Burke stepping down.

The Munster Branch have landed a notable coup in persuading Graham Mourie, captain of the New Zealand team beaten by Munster at Thomond Park in 1978, to return to Ireland for the 20th anniversary celebrations of that famous occasion.

Mourie, who played 21 tests for the All Blacks, has graciously accepted an invitation and will travel with his wife and two children. He will be a guest speaker at a banquet before the European Cup match between Munster and Perpignan at the newly-refurbished Thomond Park on October 31st.

Meanwhile, the Disciplinary Committee of ERC Ltd have thrown out Leinster's protest against Stade Francais prop Serge Simon. A curt statement read: "After compiling all the evidence, the Disciplinary Committee of ERC Ltd unanimously decided not to uphold the Leinster citing against Serge Simon of Stade Francais."

Leinster have delayed naming their side for tomorrow's European game against Begles-Bordeaux until this morning because of injury concerns surrounding Alan McGowan, Martin Ridge, Brian Carey, Gabriel Fulcher and Trevor Brennan.

MUNSTER: B Roche; J Kelly, K Keane, C Mahony, A Horgan; B Everitt, P Stringer; P Clohessy, M McDermott, J Hayes; M Galwey (capt), M O'Driscoll; A Quinlan, A Foley, E Halvey. Replacements: I Murray, F Sheehan, S Leahy, D Corkery, E Hogan O'Connell, B Walsh, A Thompson.