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Captain's curse strikes again as stand-in U20s skipper likely to miss rest of Six Nations

Connacht forward Cillian Gallagher could be out for six weeks with a shoulder injury.

Ireland U20s skipper Cillian Gallagher.
Ireland U20s skipper Cillian Gallagher.
Image: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

IRELAND’S U20s HAVE been dealt yet another serious blow with news that stand-in skipper Cillian Gallagher looks set to miss the rest of this year’s Six Nations with a shoulder injury.

The Connacht back row injured his AC joint during Ireland’s 27-26 defeat of Italy at Stadio Enrico Chersoni 11 days ago and is expected to be sidelined for six weeks.

Gallagher had only been promoted to skipper in the absence of regular captain Jack Kelly, who missed the narrow win against the Italians with a shoulder injury sustained in the one-point victory against Scotland in Ireland’s opening fixture.

Kelly isn’t expected to be fit for Friday night’s game against France at Donnybrook [8pm, RTÉ2] either but it is hoped that the fullback will be available for the clash against Wales on 11 March.

“I don’t think he’s too far off, it’s not a serious injury,” scrum coach Conor Twomey said of Kelly.

“He won’t get France and I’m not too sure if he’ll get Wales.

“Any of these shoulder injuries, they can go three weeks, four weeks, six weeks.

“When they hit contact again will depend but I think the prognosis is good on that AC joint.”

The French are expected to offer a much sterner test on the 4G Donnybrook pitch this Friday, as their tails will be up following their 36-8 victory against the Scots last time out.

Head coach Thomas Lievremont, a brother of former French senior chief Marc, fielded a much-changed line-up in Grenoble after beginning their campaign with a woeful 59-17 defeat at the hands of England.

There has also been some good news on the injury front for Ireland however, as Munster out-half Bill Johnston, fresh from helping Garryowen to a 17-16 UBL Division 1A League win against UCD, could play on Friday after making his return from an ankle injury in recent weeks.

Exciting Ulster back Rob Lyttle could also get game time against France after also proving his fitness.

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Alan Waldron

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