Injury news a much-needed positive for Ireland after Six Nations defeat

The cloud that enveloped Ireland at Murrayfield over the weekend produced a belated silver lining today with the news that Joe Schmidt’s squad had at least returned from Scotland more or less physically unscathed, writes Brendan O'Brien.

The mental scars will take longer to heal - and the damage done to both Triple Crown and Grand Slam hopes has been irreparable - but the relatively clean bill of health starts Week Two off on a somewhat positive note.

Tadhg Furlong's bruised shoulder was revealed to be the most damaging knock shipped by those who featured in Edinburgh and the Leinster tighthead prop was due to take a full part in training today.

That leaves the squad in good physical shape although there was a familiar lack of clarity on the well-being of Jonathan Sexton (calf) and Peter O'Mahony (hamstring), both of whom missed the first-round defeat.

Both are "progressing well" according to team manager Paul Dean and are keen to put their hands up for selection but it will be Thursday's team selection before the exact status of their rehabs are known.

Sexton was back running today and O’Mahony was due to do likewise but, with Italy next up and the Six Nations taking a week off thereafter, it may be that Schmidt errs on the side of caution before supposedly tougher tests to come.

“He is being managed by the medics, I am afraid,” said Dean when pushed on Sexton.

“I can’t give any sort of prognosis. We just have to wait and see.” Ian Keatley, called in as back-up and an unused replacement in Scotland, remains with the squad for now.

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