While O’Kelly feels that O’Brien could make an impact from the start, both men seemed to favour the notion of starting him on the sidelines, with just O’Brien’s run-out for the Ireland Wolfhounds last Friday under his belt after injury.
“He [O’Brien] has been out for a good while. He's not going to let the side down. It's whether he has it left in the tank for 80 minutes. He's almost better coming from the bench,” O’Kelly commented, at the launch of the Annual Stuart Mangan Memorial Cup in Donnybrook today.
“I don't think you can wrap him in cotton wool any longer. He may only be good for half an hour so you put him on for that, or bring him in for the last half-hour.
"The concern is if there's an injury to someone else, if someone has a concussion after five minutes, Sean might have to play 75 minutes.”
“We’d all like to have seen O’Brien get another game before he puts the green jersey back on,” Byrne added.
“But if Heaslip isn’t there do you put Sean in? Put him at 6, O’Mahony at eight. Or Sean at eight? The options are there.
"I would prefer not to see O’Brien start.”