Double injury blow for U-20s as Gallagher and Kelly out
Ireland U-20s have been dealt a double blow as their vice-captain Cillian Gallagher has been ruled out of the remainder of the Six Nations, while their skipper Jack Kelly is still struggling to overcome a shoulder injury.
Gallagher was replaced during Ireland's win over Italy two weeks ago and scans on his shoulder have revealed some damage.
The Connacht youngster does not require surgery and has been sent back to the province as he targets a return before the Junior World Cup in June.
It is a huge setback to Nigel Carolan's plans as he is without one of the main leaders in his squad. Gallagher suffered an injury to his opposite shoulder at last year's World Cup.
It is hoped that Kelly will play a part before the end of the Six Nations but the knock he picked up in the opening win in Scotland has proven to be more problematic than initially believed.
The full-back missed the victory over Italy last time out and will play no part in Friday's clash against France in Donnybrook.
"I don't think he's too far off, it's not a serious injury," scrum coach Conor Twomey said.
"He won't get France and I'm not too sure if he'll get Wales. Any of these shoulder injuries, they can go three weeks, four weeks, six weeks. When they hit contact again will depend (on his recovery) but I think the prognosis is good on that AC joint."
In more positive news, Bill Johnston linked up with the squad for the first time and took a full part in their training session yesterday.
The hugely-talented Munster out-half has missed the opening two rounds with an ankle injury but is pushing to be included against France.
The Irish management are likely to be cautious with Johnston and will monitor his progress in training this week before a final decision is made.