Quinlan joins tour squad as Munster sign off

ALAN QUINLAN’S amazing recovery from injury should be complete tonight, when his name is added to the Irish squad for the tour to New Zealand and Australia.

Quinlan will line out with Munster in their last Celtic League game against Cardiff. Assuming he stays standing, he will be added to Eddie O’Sullivan’s squad for the tour down under.

Amidst celebrations following Munster’s recent Heineken Cup win, John Hayes has been excluded from the squad to celebrate further. He became a father for the first time yesterday.

There is a doubt about the fitness of David Wallace (ankle injury) and captain Anthony Foley is on stand-by for a possible appearance.

The triumphant Munster side may not quite be intact, but 17 of the 22 that filled both the team and bench will probably be in action as they battle for third place in the Celtic League at a packed Thomond Park.

There may be little at stake other than pride for Munster in the last game of the season, but coach

Declan Kidney is conscious that a third place in this particular competition would be a fair return on top of a Heineken Cup triumph.

All 13,000 tickets, for the first time this year in a Celtic League game, have been sold.

Initially, Quinlan’s knee injury was to have kept him out to the end of the season, but he fought his way back.

Irish coach O’Sullivan has been impressed with his progress to date, saying: “It was good man-management and a very determined effort by the player himself.”

Cardiff are reported to be looking forward to the challenge of taking on the newly crowned European champions. Coach David Young said: “It should be a great evening. The challenge for us is to beat the European champions, but I have to say it will be very difficult.”

For O’Sullivan, however, it may be less than exciting.

The Irish tour squad get together in Limerick on Sunday, and with an Irish second/third string squad heading to America and Canada to compete in the Churchill Cup at the same time, O’Sullivan can’t afford any set-backs.

Ireland play two Test games against the All Blacks and another against Australia on successive Saturdays, June 10, 17 and 24.

Setanta Sports (Sky Channel 429) will cover the Thomond Park game live. Coverage begins at 5pm.

MUNSTER: S. Payne, A. Horgan, J. Kelly, R. Henderson, I. Dowling, J. Manning, T. O’Leary, M. Horan, D Fogarty, F. Puciariello, T. Hogan, M. O’Driscoll, A. Quinlan, D. Leamy, D. Wallace. Replacements: J. Flannery, J. Hayes/E. McGovern, S. Keogh, J. O’Sullivan, M. Prendergast, P. Burke, T. Halstead.

CARDIFF BLUES: N. McLeod, R. Williams (captain), J. Robinson, M. Stcherbina, C. Czekaj, J. Flanagan, M. Phillips, J. Yapp, D. Goodfield, B. Evans, D. Jones, R. Sidoli, M. Molitka, M. Lewis, R. Sowden-Taylor. Replacements: R. Gill, R. Thomas, B. Davies, M. Williams, N. Robinson, T. Riley, C. Morgan.

Referee: A. Macpherson (Scotland)

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