Peter O'Mahony pictured at Munster Squad Training. Ben Brady/INPHO

Boost for Munster as O'Mahony nears return

The Ireland international has been making major strides in his recovery from a shoulder injury.

MUNSTER SKIPPER Peter O’Mahony looks set to be back for their crunch Champions Cup game away to Exeter Chiefs on Sunday week after making major strides in his recovery from a shoulder injury.

O’Mahony won’t feature against Bayonne at Thomond Park this Saturday evening but Graham Rowntree’s men should have more than sufficient firepower against a side who were playing in the French ProD2 just two seasons ago.

Attack coach Mike Prendergast confirmed that O’Mahony, who recently announced his decision to step down as Munster captain after a decade leading them, is on course to head to Sandy Park on Sunday week.

“Yeah, he has turned a corner, a good corner thankfully over the last week and all going well he will be available for us, all going well, for next week,” said Prendergast.

O’Mahony’s return will be a timely boost given that Jean Kleyn has joined his World Cup-winning second-row colleague RG Snyman on the injury list.

Kleyn has been ruled out until January and he will be a big loss heading into the Champions Cup and more Irish derbies, not least as he has managed to avoid injuries over the years.

“That’s the thing, he has been so durable,” added Prendergast. “But unfortunately injuries happen and it has happened to Jean along with RG, two World Cup-winning second rows, and it goes without saying for any team to lose them is a big loss.

“On the other hand, it has opened the door, created opportunities for the likes of Edwin (Edogbo) in the second row and even Tom Ahern, who we pushed into the back room. I suppose if you look at the last two games and you talk about performances they are two players who have taken their opportunities thankfully, which has softened the blow a small bit.

“But when you lose players of the calibre and experience of the boys, it is a lot but the two lads have stepped up as well and they are in amongst a world player in Tadhg Beirne as well. We have Fineen Wycherley as well and in an area where you lose quality we have a nice bit of quality there as well in terms of our back five players and a lot of them are adaptable as well and that is kind of the way the game is going. Very important for us as well, the likes of Gavin Coombes who can cover second row as well.

“We can mix and match, we have Brian Gleeson there as well who has been featuring for us a few times off the bench. To lose them is huge but as I said there are lads who have stepped up as well,” added Prendergast.

Meanwhile, hooker Diarmuid Barron said that he didn’t waste any time pondering about inking a new two-year deal with his native province. There was no mention of being in demand elsewhere or any other fuss.

“No, it was very straightforward,” said the 25-year-old Tipperary native who has now played 63 times for the province. “It was all about Munster and it was a very easy decision and it was one that I was delighted to make and I’m over the moon with it.

“It was a very easy decision. The second it was on the table I was delighted to hear it. I don’t want to be anywhere bar Munster, so I’m very happy,” added Barron.

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