Leamy to start for Munster on Sunday

Denis Leamy will start for Munster against the Ospreys in their Heineken Cup quarter-final contest in Thomond Park on Sunday afternoon.

Denis Leamy will start for Munster against the Ospreys in their Heineken Cup quarter-final contest in Thomond Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Ireland flanker has recovered from the shoulder injury that kept him out of the Magners League win over Leinster last Saturday night and the Munster management will parachute him straight into the team.

With David Wallace’s place in the starting XV assured, Tony McGahan and his cohorts are choosing two from the trio of Leamy, Alan Quinlan and Niall Ronan.

Now that Leamy will be starting it’s between Quinlan and Ronan for the final place in the back row for Sunday.

Whichever of them loses out it will be a very tough call given their form in recent weeks.

Ronan scored a hat-trick of tries in the win over Glasgow just under a fortnight ago and was again in great form against Leinster while Quinlan was superlative last weekend.

In the end it may well be the experience and the nuisance quality of Quinlan that could push things in his favour as Munster will surely target Ospreys’ out-half James Hook.

If they can upset Hook and put his off his game, as they did Contempomi on Saturday night, it would go a log way to winning the game for them. And Munster will surely target the 10 channel.

In choosing his trio for the back row McGahan has plenty of think about when choosing between Ronan and Quinlan.

Should he opt for a straight forward selection that would see Leamy at 6, Ronan at 7 and Wallace at 8. Alternatively he could opt for Quinlan at 6, Wallace at 7 and Leamy at 8.

What could also work in Quinlan’s favour is that the positioning of the back-row forwards is not set in stone for matches. Indeed on Saturday night last in three successive scrums Wallace lined out at 8, 6 and then at 7.

In this environment the ability of Quinlan, Wallace and Leamy to alternate positions would be a big plus, especially as Ronan is seen almost exclusively as an open-side (7) flanker.

As was evident in last Saturday’s win, Quinlan offers a great alternative to both Paul O’Connell and Donncha O’Callaghan in the line-out.

The other good news on the injury front for Munster this week is that Ronan O’Gara has also been cleared to play.

The talismanic out-half hurt his ankle in the first half last Saturday night and even through he played on until the 80th minute he was in some pain with it on Sunday and Monday.

Since then he has been receiving constant treatment and has made a full recovery and will start the game on Sunday afternoon.

Article courtesy of The Evening Echo newspaper.

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