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Alan Quinlan
Quinlan Close To A Return
1 January 2008, 9:21 am
By Chris Byrne
A little over a week away from the resumption of the Heineken Cup and the good news from a Munster point of view is that Paul O'Connell and Tomas O'Leary travel north with the squad for the Magners League clash with Ulster while Alan Quinlan is knocking on the door for a return to action.
Quinlan damaged thumb ligaments in the Magners League game against Newport Gwent Dragons in November and initially it was believed he would be out of action until the end of January but as Declan Kidney remarked, "Quinny being Quinny you just couldn't rule him out being back sooner than expected. He certainly wont make the Ulster game," but when asked if he might be available for the game against Clermont, Kidney's response was, "being the sort of character he is you never say never with him."

" The plaster is off the hand and because of the nature of the injury, although it was fairly extensive, he was able to do a fair bit. He is taking part in light ball work but obviously no contact. We'll have to see how he goes in training next week before we know exactly where we stand with him. But he is certainly doing all that's required by the medics and fitness guys to get himself back."

Another player who received particular mention for his application in adversity was John O'Sullivan who damaged a cruciate in the game against the US Eagles in late August. And according to Kidney, O'Sullivan could be back a month ahead of schedule, " The way John has conducted himself rehabbing his injury means he may be back for the February trip to Edinburgh. I couldn't say enough about his professionalism, his dedication to getting himself right."

There is concern however about prop Federico Pucciariello who suffered a groin strain in training last Monday and he remains a doubt for Munster's game against Clermont whose Springboks hooker has been ruled out after suffering knee ligament damage in training on New Year's Eve.

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