Quinlan's league heroics fail to earn european spot
RUGBY: The Ospreys may be big admirers, but Alan Quinlan looks set to miss out on selection for Munster when they take on the international-laden Welsh region in Sunday's Heineken Cup showdown at Thomond Park, WRITES HUGH FARRELLY.
Munster's most capped player was one of the stand-out performers in last weekend's Magners League victory over Cardiff Blues and Ospreys forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys has singled out Quinlan for special mention .
"When you go to Munster you know it's going to be a pretty physical challenge," said Humphreys.
"They have an outstanding back row. Quinlan is one of their most underrated players -- I've always been a big admirer of what he brings to the game."
However, the 36-year-old flanker could lose out to James Coughlan when Munster name their side for Sunday's Pool 3 showdown in Limerick.
With Paul O'Connell likely to be introduced from the bench on his return to European rugby, Denis Leamy is set to lead the team from No 8, with Coughlan at blindside flanker and the possibility of the two players swapping positions should the situation demand it.
Tomas O'Leary could come back in at scrum-half ahead of Peter Stringer after his recovery from the thumb injury that ruled him out of Ireland's November Internationals.
Meanwhile, with Ireland and Lions stars Luke Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney definitely out and Brian O'Driscoll extremely unlikely to feature, Leinster are ready to turn to Eoin O'Malley and Fergus McFadden when they name their team for Sunday's daunting assignment away to Clermont Auvergne.
With Isa Nacewa favourite to slot in at full-back in Kearney's absence, McFadden could be selected on the left wing, where he played against the Scarlets last week, with O'Malley at outside centre alongside Gordon D'Arcy. Leinster are due to announce their side at noon today.
MUNSTER (possible) -- J Murphy; D Howlett, K Earls, S Tuitupou, D Hurley; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; W du Preez, D Varley, T Buckley; D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll; J Coughlan, D Wallace, D Leamy (capt).