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Ireland 'more hopeful than confident' on Sexton's fitness for France

Mike McCarthy has been rated as 50/50 while doubts remain over Donnacha Ryan and Craig Gilroy.

Jonny Sexton unleashes some frustration in training.
Jonny Sexton unleashes some frustration in training.
Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

IRELAND MANAGER MICK KEARNEY has revealed that management are ‘more hopeful than confident on Jonny Sexton’s availability for the upcoming Six Nations game against France.

Sexton pulled his hamstring in the first-half of the home defeat to England and is Ireland’s biggest doubt for the visit of a wounded French side.

Lock Mike McCarthy has been listed as ’50/50′ by Kearney while Donnacha Ryan, his second-row partner in the Wales and England games, will only resume training next Monday.

Ryan, when speaking to TheScore.ie after the press conference in Maynooth, was slightly more optimistic about his playing chances.

“The body follows where the mind leads,” he remarked.

Craig Gilroy [groin] is another injury doubt but Irish management are more hopeful on his involvement for next weekend’s clash against France in Dublin.

Kidney, once again, insisted that he is not considering his coaching future with Ireland and is focusing solely on the next game in this year’s championship.

Ireland’s Six Nations chances were blown out of the water on Sunday when they fell to a 12-8 defeat away to Scotland.

He also added that Ulster “volunteered” to allow outhalf Paddy Jackson to take the kicking duties against Treviso at Ravenhill tomorrow.

Ian Madigan and Fergus McFadden will be start for Leinster against Dragons tomorrow but Kidney insisted that no phone-calls had been made to Joe Schmidt to suggest a designated kicker.

Make or break: Jackson named outhalf for Ulster’s Italian date

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