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Munster making players 'feel the pain' of weekends out of European action

Paulie’s back to bring the pain to Edinburgh this weekend.

Ian Keatley with Dave O'Callaghan and Donnacha Ryan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

MUNSTER WERE MARKED absent from European quarter-final weekend for the first time in 17 years, and Anthony Foley is intent on making his squad ‘feel the pain’ to make gains in their bread and butter competition.

Paul O'Connell Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The southern province trained in Cork today ahead of a return to Pro12 action with four fixtures standing between them and the advantage of a home semi-final in the league.

Simon Zebo and Paddy Butler Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Munster have been Celtic League champions three times since its inception in 2001, but since the success over Leinster in Thomond Park in 2011 they have not enjoyed home advantage in the knock-out stage of the league and failed in both games where they traveled for a semi-final.

However, with head coach Anthony Foley citing a selection headache with his front line internationals coming back into the fray at the same time as James Cronin and Donnacha Ryan return to fitness, Munster are well placed to attack the Ravenhill final on 30 May.

James Cronin and Donncha O'Callaghan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“I’d be disappointed if the boys don’t hit the ground running,” Foley told RedFM today after spending his Easter Sunday watching Edinburgh’s away win over London Irish in the Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Players go through warm up drills Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Having a semi-final to look forward to on Friday week may well prove to be a distraction for the Scottish club. But with his side level on points with second-placed Ulster and two points behind leaders Glasgow, Foley will demand a focused display from his side in Murrayfield before attentions then turn to Treviso (home), Ulster (away) and the Dragons (home).

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Jack O'Donoghue Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“It’s all about being ready. We’ve to deal with the situation of no game on and off, but we can use that to a plus as well and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

We try and work them hard the week without a game, try and make them feel the pain of that. Then these weeks of the game, we take a bit off and make sure we’re fresh and ready for Saturday.”

He added: “We understand what it’s going to take, it’s actually doing it is the key.

“It’s important we don’t over-hype them, but they have beaten us already this year and it’s important we keep our performance in mind and go over there and get a result.”

Every point is precious at this stage of the season.

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Sean Farrell

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