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20th Jan 2024

Andy Farrell dealing with raft of worrying injuries ahead of Portugal training camp

Patrick McCarry

Andy Farrell

Not what the Ireland head coach needs, at all, right now.

On Monday, Andy Farrell and Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony will be at the Six Nations launch, at Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse. Both men will be fielding questions on injuries after a bruising Champions Cup weekend.

Ireland are already without Mack Hansen, Jimmy O’Brien and Dave Kilcoyne for the defence of the Grand Slam title that was claimed at Aviva Stadium, last March. Ross Byrne is in danger of missing the championship, too. He would have been worried, at certain stages of Saturday’s matches, when Hugo Keenan, Jamison Gibson-Park and Craig Casey were all down for treatment. Fortunately, all were able to play on.

Finlay Bealham was also able to continue, for Connacht, on Friday despite being on the receiving end of an awful, if accidental, stamp by Bristol forward Josh Caulfield. Bealham looked as if he had been in the wars, but played on until the 54th minute of his team’s win, at Dexcom Stadium.

On Saturday, the news was not as encouraging. Conor Murray, Harry Byrne and Tom Ahern, a training panellist in the Six Nations squad, are now injury concerns ahead of the training camp jaunt to Portugal.

Harry Byrne and Luke McGrath of Leinster. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)

Andy Farrell will be waiting on injury updates

With no United Rugby Championship games for the Irish provinces until mid February, Andy Farrell is bringing his Six Nations squad back to Portugal for some warm weather training.

The Ireland head coach will be anxious for full updates on Conor Murray, Harry Byrne, Ciarán Frawley and Tom Ahern.

Byrne was enjoying his best game of the season, for Leinster, until an ankle injury saw him limp off in the final quarter, against Leicester Tigers. Following his side’s victory over Leicester, Leo Cullen was asked about Harry Byrne. He told The Irish Times:

“He’s okay. Harry did well to get through as much as he did to be fair, what 65 minutes or so, because at the start of the week he didn’t train. He came back in on Thursday and full credit to him he did well. I think he just aggravated his ankle, so hopefully that settles down quite quickly, but yeah, great effort from him.”

Conor Murray was a late scratch for Munster, ahead of their home defeat to Northampton Saints. The scrumhalf was replaced on the bench by Paddy Patterson, and pictured looking pensive, in the stands, as his side struggled in the second half against a determined Saints side.

There were further issues for Munster as Tom Ahern left on a medical cart after receiving a knee to the head, and Simon Zebo tried to hold back the tears as he left the field, in the second half.

It has been confirmed by the Irish Independent that Peter O’Mahony has a hip injury and Ahern will spend the night in hospital, in Limerick, under observation after that blow to his head.

There was another blow for a Munster player but this one was shaken off. Peter O’Mahony tried a clearing kick, inside his 22, but proceeded only in connecting with the mid-section of poor Gavin Coombes. On commentary duty for TNT Sports, as O’Mahony grimaced, Mark Robson remarked:

“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen Peter O’mahony showing sympathy for anybody!”

Further updates will be forthcoming from the provinces o Monday, once scans and checks are made.

Ciarán Frawley did not feature for Leinster as he nurses ribs that took a hefty rattle, last weekend, in a win over Stade Francais.

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