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Sexton fit for Montpellier but Sean Cronin facing a spell on the sidelines

There’s also good news on the fitness of Rob Kearney, Cathal Marsh, Fergus McFadden and Mike Ross.

JOHNNY SEXTON CAME through his return to competitive rugby unscathed and is fit and available for Leinster’s crunch Champions Cup clash with Montpellier on Friday night.

Jonathan Sexton and Devin Toner Sexton trained in UCD this afternoon. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The out-half played 55 minutes of the province’s 10-try trouncing of Zebre over the weekend and reported no issues when the Leinster squad convened at their UCD base this morning.

“I thought he did well,” John Fogarty said this afternoon. “He’s been around for the last couple of weeks so I think as far as the game plan and things we needed to do, he was well aware of it. I thought he did quite well.

“Physically he looked to get through the game quite well and he had some nice moments. It’s great to have him back. He was confident going into the game that he would get through but for everyone else, for him to get through the game was a sigh of relief.”

Sexton’s availability is a major fillip for Leo Cullen heading into two crucial European fixtures but the head coach will have to plan without Sean Cronin for the visit of Montpellier and the trip to Castres.

Sean Cronin pulls up with a injury Cronin hobbles off last Friday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The hooker pulled up shortly after coming on during the 70-6 victory on Friday evening and is now facing a period on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

An initial scan didn’t shed any further light on the extent of the problem but forwards coach Fogarty admitted he was ‘gutted’ for the Ireland international.

“They had an initial scan to see if it is intact or not,” he continued.

“I don’t know where he’s at at the moment but he’s out for sure and I’m gutted for him personally because he’s been playing quite well for us.

“I’m gutted that he’s going to miss the opportunity to play this game, which is hugely important for us as a group. He would have loved to have played and that’s disappointing for him.”

When asked if there was any sort of timeline being talked about for Cronin’s layoff, Fogarty said: “I’m not sure at the moment. He’ll have another scan but Jesus I hope it’s not months but he’s certainly not going to be here for the next week or two, that’s for sure. They’re going to take their time and make sure he’s right.”

There was, however, better news on the fitness of Rob Kearney. The Ireland international missed the festive programme with an ankle injury but will train this afternoon and is available for selection, according to Fogarty.

John Fogarty John Fogarty speaking to the media today. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cathal Marsh and Ed Byrne — who has been out since August 2015 — both returned to action for St Mary’s and UCD respectively over the weekend and will be assessed by Leinster’s medical staff as the week progresses.

They will be joined on the training paddock by the returning Fergus McFadden and Mike Ross. The pair are still a few weeks away from full fitness but have stepped up their respective rehabilitation programmes.

Joey Carbery, Dave Kearney and Jordi Murphy remain long-term absentees but the first two are making good progress and are ‘near the finish line’ in regards to completing their recovery work.

Leinster say 16,700 tickets have been sold for Friday night’s Pool 4 clash with the prize of a quarter-final spot on offer if Cullen’s men can extend their winning streak at home.

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