Dave Kearney ruled out of Champions Cup semi-final

Kearney rolled his ankle in an awkward collision against Connacht on Saturday

Dave Kearney goes off injured during Leinster’s Pro12 clash with Connacht. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dave Kearney goes off injured during Leinster’s Pro12 clash with Connacht. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

As expected, Dave Kearney has been ruled out of contention for Leinster’s European Champions Cup semi-final against Clermont Auvergne in Lyon next Sunday. The extent of the ankle injury he suffered in Leinster’s win over Connacht on Saturday in Galway will be ascertained later in the week pending further assessment.

In just his second comeback game since recovering from a toe injury, and his first start since February, Kearney rolled his ankle in an awkward collision seven minutes into the second half at the Sportsground, and having been given oxygen was helped off the pitch while shaking his head ruefully following this latest setback.

Kearney has made only seven starts since also suffering an ankle injury in Leinster’s Pro12 final defeat at Murrayfield last May. Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster did not rule out the possibility of Kearney returning before the end of the season, but with only two more Pro12 fixtures before the knock-out stages of that competition, the fear must be that the 28-year-old’s injury plagued campaign is over.

“I was gutted for him really because what people don’t see is the work he has put in to get fit again,” said Lancaster. “The injury, the recovery, the rehab and the time on his own with the physios and strength and conditioning coaches. I personally was gutted for him because I haven’t really worked for him over the last 12 months. It’s going to keep him out for a few weeks now and it’s a real shame for him.”

“He’s devastated really, he had put so much hard work in and he was fighting to get in that European squad and now he’s back on the physio bed. He’ll be back though, he’s still a young player and there’s a long way to go in his career.”

Jack Conan remains a slight doubt for Sunday’s semi-final in Lyon due to the neck injury he suffered during the win over Ospreys a fortnight ago, while Rob Kearney (bicep and knee) and Jamie Heaslip (back) are also still sidelined, with no update as to whether they might return before the end of the season.

“They’re both pushing hard to get fit before the end of the season, nothing much more to report than we’ll wait and see,” Lancaster added.

Leinster have confirmed that the Narbonne-bound lock Mike McCarthy has played his last game for the province after undergoing surgery for a disc injury in his back, and is also seeking further treatment on an issue with his elbow.

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