McQuilkin: McCarthy is in great spirits
There is a renewed sense of confidence around Leinster HQ these days, and the sight of Sean O'Brien and Mike McCarthy in UCD yesterday lifted the spirits even further.
Both players were injured in Ireland's win over France two weeks ago and will miss the remainder of the Six Nations.
McCarthy is recovering well from his severe head injury, while O'Brien is already making steps to return for the Pro12 run-in.
"Seanie was in today walking around," defence coach Kurt McQuilkin said. "He's got a bit of work to do on his knee but he's out of the brace now, which is a great sign.
"Mike was in today. He won't be playing for the rest of the season. He's just beavering away and doing what he's got to do.
"He's fine. He's in great form. He's tipping over doing a bit of work in the gym and that.
"He's in great spirits. I saw him out in Donnybrook last week, pushing the baby around.
"He's just out and about doing his thing."
Leinster await to see which of their Irish internationals will be available to play away to Zebre on Sunday, and with the top half of the Pro12 table becoming even more congested after recent results, McQuilkin maintained that the league is as exciting as it has ever been.
"It's been brilliant. It gets a bad rap at times," he said.
"The competitiveness of the top four is dog eat dog stuff with how tight it is at the top of the table.
"Everyone is looking forward to putting their best foot forward. I think these next couple of weeks will be crucial with regard to moving up and down the table.
"Then you've got to come through the interpros again and that's like having a scrap with your brother out in the back yard."