Concern for luckless O'Donnell as Munster fear another injury setback

The flanker suffered a shoulder injury at the weekend.

JOHANN VAN GRAAN admits the shoulder injury sustained by Tommy O’Donnell during Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup win over Exeter Chiefs could be worse than first feared, and there is ‘big worry’ for the flanker.

O’Donnell was replaced at half-time for what Munster thought was a ‘stinger’ to his left shoulder, but the Tipperary native now anxiously awaits a specialist review to determine the extent of the damage. 

Tommy O'Donnell and Dave Kilcoyne with Santiago Cordero O'Donnell suffered the injury against Exeter. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

It would be a cruel setback for 31-year-old O’Donnell who has endured an injury-ravaged two seasons, having been sidelined with shoulder and ankle problems in recent times.

The 12-time capped Ireland international was only four games into his latest comeback from an ankle injury when he started against Exeter at Thomond Park on Saturday.

Despite booking their place in the Champions Cup quarter-finals, the attritional nature of the 9-7 win has taken its toll on the southern province, with O’Donnell, Andrew Conway and Tadhg Beirne all emerging with bangs.

Beirne has been ruled out of the first two rounds of the Six Nations with a knee injury, while Conway didn’t travel with the rest of the Ireland squad to Portugal this morning due to an unspecified knock he sustained in the round six game.

There was better news on Conor Murray, however, after Van Graan confirmed the scrum-half suffered nothing more than a shoulder stinger and was fit to board the plane at Dublin Airport earlier on Monday.

Murray is one of nine Munster players — Dave Kilcoyne, Peter O’Mahony, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Joey Carbery, Keith Earls and Chris Farrell — involved in Ireland’s pre-Six Nations camp.

Brian Scott [foot], James Cronin [leg], Jack O’Donoghue [knee], Dave O’Callaghan [foot] and JJ Hanrahan [hip] continue their respective rehab programmes ahead of Munster’s Guinness Pro14 trip to the Dragons on Saturday [KO 3pm, eir Sport/TG4].

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Ryan Bailey

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