It is the third time this season the Munster party faced major disruptions going and coming from Heineken Cup/Celtic League games abroad.
Yesterday half the party were left sitting in Cork airport when a Munster chartered aircraft developed landing system failings and was unable to complete the journey to Cork, where the weather was inclement.
Had the aircraft the required system, there would, apparently, have been no problem landing in Cork but the aircraft had to return to Shannon.
Consideration was given to bringing the Cork-based players to Shannon by bus but this was deemed inappropriate. Instead, the airline, Scott Airways, agreed to fly in a replacement aircraft and the short tour finally got underway after 8 o’clock last night, over five hours behind schedule.
There are no late changes or no further injury difficulties in the Munster squad although there was a clear level of frustration that the travel jinx had struck again.
Meanwhile, Triple Crown heroes Girvan Dempsey and Gordon D’Arcy will be back to boost Leinster in the Celtic League clash with Glasgow at Donnybrook this evening (7.30pm).
There is no sign of battered and bruised captain Brian O’Driscoll, nor of Shane Horgan, Reggie Corrigan, Shane Byrne or Malcolm O’Kelly but the very presence of Dempsey and D’Arcy is sure to set the pulses racing just six days after Ireland’s historic win over Scotland.
Another interesting feature of the selection is the choice of Irish under 21 captain David Gannon on the bench.
The big second row helped Ireland to a relatively successful season (three wins, a draw and a narrow loss) in the Six Nations and is highly rated by Leinster forwards coach Willie Anderson. It is the first time Gannon has featured on Leinster’s senior squad for the Celtic League.
Four of the vanquished Scottish side will be playing in Dublin for the second successive weekend.
Gordon Bulloch, Jon Petrie, Dan Parks, and Andrew Henderson, straight from international action, return to the Glasgow team.
However, their international colleague, Cammie Mather, Glasgow’s captain, has not yet recovered from his shoulder injury. Sam Pinder also is unavailable. Roland Reid also returns to the Glasgow team. So do Graeme Beveridge, David Millard, and Andy Hall.
: G. Dempsey, G. Browne, F. Contepomi, G. D’Arcy, J. Norton, M. Leek, B. O’Meara, J. Lyne, D. Blaney, P. Coyle, A. Kearney, B. Gissing, A. McCullen, N. Ronan, D. Dillon (captain). Replacements. S. Brophy, B. Blaney, D. Gannon, S. Crawford, B. O’Riordan, J. Downey, D. O’Shea.
: G. Metcalf, D. Millard, G. Morrison, A. Henderson, S. Lamount, D. Parks, G. Beveridge. A. Kelly, G. Bulloch, E. Murray, A. Hall, N. Ross, R. Reid, D. MacFadyen, J. Petrie (captain). Replacements. S. Lawson, M. Proudfoot, J. Beardshaw, R. McKay, M. McMillan, C. Howarth, G. Maclure.