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'Freak' training ground knock kept Farrell from lining out for Munster

Meanwhile, Johann van Graan lamented the ‘moments’ that ensured Munster fell just short of the knock-out stages.

MUNSTER AND IRELAND centre Chris Farrell was withdrawn from Munster’s starting XV to face the Ospreys and will hope to overcome a bruised knee before picking up training with Ireland in Portugal later this week.

chris-farrell Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Head coach Johann van Graan, speaking after his side’s 33-6 win over the Ospreys rounded off their pool campaign, lamented the ‘freak’ training ground collision that kept Farrell out of action today and left flanker Chris Cloete unable to run in the warm-up as a reserve.

“That was pretty freaky, it was just a move off a line-out and two Chrises, Cloete and Farrell, ran into each other. It was a knee to a hip,” said Van Graan.

“Chris is literally a bang to the knee and he didn’t have enough time to recover. We gave him until today, but unfortunately he didn’t make it.”

Andrew Conway will be another man on the list of recovering players for new Ireland boss Andy Farrell as he sustained a 10th-minute blow to the head and failed his subsequent HIA.

Despite losing two key backs and falling 0-6 down during a lacklustre opening 20 minutes, Munster tightened up to run out 33-6 winners over the embattled Welsh side.

The fourth of their five tries came thanks to an excellent side-step from 20-year-old Craig Casey. A well-timed showcase of his ability with Conor Murray set to leave for Ireland camp and present opportunities for his understudies to impress.

“He kept working in training. He’s a doer and he’s somebody who wants to improve his game,” Van Graan said of his promising young scrum-half.

“I thought we managed his game-time well over the last few months. Really excited about what he brought today.

“He’s a small man, but he’s going to play a big part in Munster’s future. I’m really happy for him to score that try.”

craig-casey-celebrates-scoring-their-fourth-try-with-dan-goggin Casey celebrates his try. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The noise in Thomond Park to greet Casey’s score was at odds with the mood surrounding their difficult European campaign in an extremely tough pool. Even with their fate sealed before kick-off today, Van Graan exits this year’s tournament feeling his side are not far off the standard-bearers.

They run out of road two points shy of Saracens and are left to lament a few twists and turns where they dropped points along the way.

“We’ve only one goal now and that’s the Pro14. Obviously disappointed that we didn’t progress to the next part of this competition…

If you look at the first five rounds, we had one or two opportunities within our control that we didn’t use. That’s professional sport, it’s literally moments.

“Really proud of how the group stuck to their guns in the last few weeks, specifically Peter (O’Mahony) and the leadership group.

“We’re a tight bunch. We win together and we lose together. Unfortunately, we came short this time and we’ll definitely be back next season.”

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Sean Farrell

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