EOIN O’MALLEY’S HOPE of gaining international experience with Ireland on this summer’s tour to New Zealand have been dashed after he suffered a knee injury on Saturday.
The centre injured his cruciate ligament in the second half of Leinster’s 19-15 semi-final win over the Glasgow Warriors.
This morning, briefing the press in the build-up to the Heineken Cup final, Jono Gibbes broke the news, saying:
“He’s looking at a long-term rehab of about six months. Really unfortunate news for him, individually, and (from the team’s perspective) he’s a big contributor and we really feel for him.”
O’Malley has been in impressive form this season helping Leinster to the top of the Pro12 table and he was often chosen as a covering 23rd man in Declan Kidney’s Six Nations match-day squads.
However, he has been plagued by a calf injury over the past month and on Saturday (his first appearance back from injury) the much more serious problem of ligament damage took hold.
The man he has been understudying for, Brian O’Driscoll, is facing no such disappointment ahead of the final in Twickenham.
The Ireland captain, missed out on the visit of Glasgow with a minor injury, but today he is in no doubt he will be playing against Ulster.
“Yeah good, I’m feeling good.” O’Driscoll said when asked about his injury, ” Just a bit of a niggle last week so with the week that’s in it I’m just looking forward to getting back.
“I probably won’t train fully until Thursday, but listen, you pull out all the stops when it’s Heineken Cup final week.”
O’Driscoll has spent more than his fair share out injured already this season after shoulder surgery, but with O’Malley now ruled out of the tour to face the All Blacks, it will mean even more game time will be needed from the talisman against the most punishing opponents in the game.