Wednesday 11 December 2019

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Hanrahan a doubt

Wednesday, 13th November, 2019 4:37pm

JJ Hanrahan could be on the injury list for Munster's opening European Rugby Champion's Cup fixture on Saturday. The Kerryman injured his hamstring in the Pro 14 tie win over Ulster at the weekend with the province giving him every chance of recovery ahead of Saturday.

If Hanrahan is unable to play, and with Joey Carbery also sidelined with an ankle injury, New Zealander Tyler Bleyendaal is set to star in the away fixture against Ospreys at Liberty Stadium. Bleyendaal finished out Munster's 22-16 win last weekend which sees Munster top of the Conference B table with three points to spare over second-placed Scarlets.

Johann van Graan's side are preparing for two big weekends of Champions Cup rugby with Racing 92 making a visit to Thomond Park on 22 November.

Munster will be without Chris Cloete for the trip to Wales; the South African failed a HIA during the Ulster clash and will undergo the graded return to play protocols under the supervision of the medical department. Dave Kilcoyne sustained a calf injury in training last week and will undergo rehabilitation with the medical department and will be out of action for the coming weeks with van Graan confirming he too would miss Saturday's opener.

Elsewhere, there was wins for Cork Con and Highfield in the Energia All-Ireland Leagues with a draw for Dolphin and losses for UCC, Midleton and Sunday's Well.

For the fifth round running, Cork Con prevailed in a very close finish as they pipped Dublin University 25-22 at Temple Hill.

Con’s biggest winning margin so far this season has only been four points, and they showed their mettle in another nail-biting conclusion to what was a repeat of last season’s Division 1A semi-final.

Munster prospect Sean French stepped up to fire home a late penalty and deny Trinity a share of the spoils at 22-22 with the defending champions in control early on, aided by a 16th minute try from big number 8 Evan Mintern, which Jack Crowley converted.

It was a second loss in a row for UCC who face a derby clash with table toppers Con on Friday night at the Mardyke, giving the students a chance to bridge the five point gap between the pair, with Con on 21 points and UCC in fourth place on 16.

Elsewhere Highfield overcame a tense affair against Old Belvedere at Woodleigh Park to maintain their winning start to the season, five from five so far, in a game that finished 14-10. They face an away trip to bottom of the table Navan RFC on Saturday afternoon.

Dolphin avoided defeat for the first time this season with a 26-26 draw against Ballymena and then now travel to Tipperary to play Nenagh Ormond on Saturday in search of further points to lift them from the bottom of Division 2A.

Another local clash on Friday night sees Sunday's Well up against Midleton at Irish Independent Park, with the pair both in need of points after a somewhat disappointing start to the season. Sunday's Well suffered a 24-5 loss to Enniscorthy in Wexford last weekend, a loss that pushes them back to eighth place in the table while Midleton suffered a 33-19 loss to Omagh and remain bottom of the table. With just a point separating the two, Friday's contest represents an opportunity for both to leapfrog their way up the table with just two wins and three losses each so far.

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