Bowe's ankle break agony ends season
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is set to resist the growing clamour for change to his mis-firing squad after both his influential half-backs Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton were passed fit for Saturday's Six Nations conclusion against England at the Aviva Stadium.
Jared Payne may belatedly return to the bench following another run-out with Ulster, replacing luckless provincial colleague Tommy Bowe, who broke his left ankle in the Welsh defeat.
The loosehead props may be rotated again, while Peter O'Mahony is threatening to elbow either CJ Stander or Sean O'Brien from the starting selection at flanker.
Although Sexton underwent a precautionary HIA in the aftermath of a clash with Jonathan Davies in Friday's defeat to Wales, he "passed all three steps and is clear" according to team manager Paul Dean.
"Concussion has been ruled out and he's available for selection," confirmed Dean. "Johnny went through all the concussion tests - the one, two and three steps of the HIA so he's completely clear."
Dean also revealed that Murray suffered no further damage to his "stinger" shoulder knock, despite the coaching staff's reluctance to substitute the clearly struggling Munster man.
"Unfortunately, a stinger injury is a peculiar injury, it's kind of a numbness that happens on the pitch," explained Dean.
"You recover quite quickly, all going well. Iain Henderson had a bad one against France but he recovered very, very quickly and he was able to stay on.
"With Conor, he's such a very, very good player, we gave him as much opportunity as we could to recover from the stinger but as you all saw, he didn't recover completely and we had to take him off, but he's fine.
"Conor is such a good guy, such a valuable asset to us we needed to allow him to stay on as long as possible to try to overcome it."
Bowe's season, and indeed Ireland career, may have ended after the 33-year-old suffered a broken ankle. He has had a plate inserted and undergoes surgery today.
Despite the fact that he is no longer a regular in his provincial side, Fergus McFadden, with just four games and two full 80 minutes of action behind him, has leap-frogged a number of potential candidates to earn a call-up to training at Carton House this morning.
Connacht duo Tiernan O'Halloran and Niyi Adeolokun, McFadden's Leinster colleagues Rory O'Loughlin and Adam Byrne would have valid reasons to question their exclusion given their sparkling form this term.
Schmidt, clearly, is banking on Ireland's current crop re-discovering their form rather than risking the elements of contemporary form that have been shown by several others during this campaign.
The available evidence of another failed tournament tilt, when the Kiwi has been also particularly reluctant to deploy his bench, might suggest that cautious confidence has been undermined regardless of Saturday's dead rubber.