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Every cloud: Kearney hopes to fill Fitzgerald void

The 22-year-old prospect could benefit from Luke Fitzgerald’s injury trouble for both club and country.

Image: ©INPHO/Colm O'Neill

DAVE KEARNEY IS hoping to capitalise on an unexpected opportunity this week.

Following the news that Luke Fitzgerald had suffered a recorrence of his neck trouble, Kearney could be the man to profit from his absence.

In Leinster, perhaps above all other teams in Europe, competition for places is fierce.

As a result, the younger Kearney is far from taking a spot on the team for granted, pointing at players such as Fionn Carr, Andre Conway and even Fergus McFadden when he says:

“Even with Luke gone there’s a lot of guys who are in with a shout for that position.”

Fitzgerald’s absence will not only provide a potential opportunity in the high-profile Pro12 and Heineken Cup stages, but it may also result in further progress at international level.

The 22-year-old was close to the Irish squad throughout the Six Nations  and during the upcoming tour to New Zealand, his versatility could prove invaluable for Declan Kidney.

Kearney started Leinster’s win over the Dragons at fullback, a position he knew well before coming on board at provincial level. “Unfortunately we didn’t really get that much ball to attack from. But  it was nice to get the run out.” He said about his outing in Wales.

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Currently, his elder brother has the shirt locked down for both club and country, but Kearney maintains he is gunning for any position that becomes available:

“I’m comfortable at 15, I would have played the majority of my rugby there until I got involved with the leinster squad. It was nice to get a run there, but you know, any position that comes up in the back three I”d be happy to take fullback, wing or whatever it is.”

Aside from Fitzgerald and other long-term absentees. Leinster had no further injury trouble to report ahead of the Rabodirect Pro12 semi-final this coming Saturday.

Isaac Boss is expected to be fit for that game and Eoin O’Malley (suffering a persistent calf problem) will again be assessed this week.

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Sean Farrell

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