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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 13 December, 2018

Ireland issue clean bill of health with Healy, Murray and Sexton cleared to play

Simon Zebo and Rob Kearney are also back in full training to complete Joe Schmidt’s full compliment of 31.

File photo
File photo
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE CLOCK HAS ticked down to below the five day mark for Ireland’s big Rugby World Cup kick-off against Canada, but Joe Schmidt has eased the tension by declaring all 31 players fit and raring to go.

Conor Murray has passed his concussion return to play protocols after suffering another blow to the head in the loss to England.

Jonathan Sexton and Simon Zebo were both struck down with cramp in the second half in Twickenham and any lingering concern is not publicly shared by the coaching staff.

Rob Kearney watched the final World Cup warm-up from the stands nursing a bruised knee, but today’s bulletin from team manager Mick Kearney was also good news for the sole specialist fullback in Ireland’s squad.

To complete the quintet of returning stars, Cian Healy has also been cleared for a return to international duty after a testing summer of recovery from neck surgery.

“Obviously Cian had a few dark days over the summer, but towards the end of August he made fantastic progress and has been in full training for the last two weeks and I’m delighted to report he’s available for selection,” Kearney said at the squad’s regular Carton House base today,

The team hasn’t been selected yet, but the fact that he’s available and fit I think is a huge boost to everyone in the squad.

“Everyone is thrilled for him, because over the last 12 months, between a couple of operations (hamstring and neck) he was out of action for a very long time. He worked incredibly hard over the course of three or four months.

“There was a degree of pessimism about him for a while but by the end of August that all turned and he has been really flying and in great form since then. It would be great to see him get some game time at the weekend.”

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Sean Farrell

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