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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

Kearney and Heaslip unlikely to feature for Leinster again this season

Meanwhile, the unlucky Dominic Ryan picked up a bicep injury in tonight’s win against Glasgow.

Murray Kinsella reports from the RDS

LEO CULLEN SAYS it will be “very, very tight” for Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip making a return from injury before the end of the season.

The fullback recently had bicep and knee operations, while number eight Heaslip underwent a procedure to remedy a back issue.

Leo Cullen Cullen didn't have a positive updated on Kearney and Heaslip. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

There had been some initial hope that both Ireland internationals could make a comeback for Leinster’s Guinness Pro12 run-in but that now seems unlikely.

Speaking after his side’s 31-30 win over Glasgow at the RDS, Cullen ruled both men out of next weekend’s clash with Ulster in Belfast and said they will be hard pushed to feature in blue again this season.

“It’ll be very tight,” said Cullen. “It’ll be very, very tight.

They won’t be available next week, anyway, so we’ll see after that. They certainly won’t be back next week.”

The latest name onto the Leinster injury list is the highly-unfortunate Dominic Ryan, who lasted just eight minutes against Glasgow.

The back row is set to leave the province this summer and started what was likely to have been his last appearance in Leinster colours well, scoring a try after Zane Kirchner teed him up, but he then departed through injury.

“He’s done something to his bicep,” said Cullen. “I really felt for Dippy. He’s gone seven or eight minutes into the game, he’s scored a try under the posts and had to go off very shortly after that. We’ll get him assessed but he’s done a bit of damage to his bicep.”

The return of Heaslip and Kearney would have been useful ahead of the Pro12 play-offs, with Leinster already guaranteed a home tie on 19 May.

However, Cullen feels Leinster have the depth to cope.

Dominic Ryan scores a try Ryan scored an early try before getting injured. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“We’ve used a number of players in the league,” said Cullen. “Guys are working hard. Jack Conan pulled out of this game. He trained on Wednesday, had a little bit of reaction in the lower calf, top of his Achilles.

“He sat out the captain’s run so we just got him checked and we made a call today. Dan Leavy came in to start and Peader Timmins acquitted himself well. He had to come early into the game for Dominic. It’s great to see an academy player getting that level of exposure.

We’ve still got a competitive group. We know we’ve got Ulster next week and we’ve got a semi-final on the Friday night. We just need to make sure everyone stays the course until the end of the season.

“There’s always distractions at this stage of the season. There are various dinners and awards balls, etc. so we have to make sure our players stay focused now and that we finish the job.

“We’ve worked hard to get to this point so it would be a shame to waste the opportunity we have in front of ourselves.”

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Murray Kinsella

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