Cian Healy has admitted Ireland will chase World Cup glory to honour captain Paul O’Connell’s glittering Test career.
Skipper O’Connell’s Ireland career is more than likely at an end after his serious hamstring injury midway through the superlative 24-9 World Cup victory over France.
O’Connell banged the turf in anguish and anger as his team-mates left the Millennium Stadium field for the half-time interval, eventually carried from the turf by stretcher.
Ireland prop Healy hailed the talismanic 35-year-old’s influence on Joe Schmidt’s squad, before vowing to do him justice if O’Connell is ruled out of the rest of the tournament.
“Hopefully Paul will be alright, but you get dealt those hands sometimes,” said Healy, after Ireland secured a quarter-final against Argentina.
“Being the fella he is and seeing how hard he’s worked, that would be the case, you dig in and you’d want to put on a show for him.
“Hopefully he’ll be okay, but if not then that will definitely give us extra motivation.”
Head coach Schmidt’s men will now face Argentina in Cardiff on Sunday, eyeing their first-ever World Cup semi-final.
Johnny Sexton is battling groin trouble and Sean O’Brien could face a citing for an alleged first-minute punch to France lock Pascal Pape’s ribs. Peter O'Mahony has already been ruled out due to a knee ligament inhury, with Rhys Ruddock coming in to the squad in his place.
Ireland rallied remarkably to see off France without a host of their most influential players, and Healy backed Schmidt’s men to continue that trend.
“When you’re playing with the likes of Paul (O’Connell) and Johnny (Sexton) they don’t give you an option, you have to know your plays inside-out,” said Healy.
“Thankfully we were able to keep it going once they went off.
“Our squad is strong and everyone knows what they are doing, so any guys who come into the side can keep that going. It was clear to see that Paul was frustrated, so we’ll just have to wait to see how he is.”