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Flannery ban upheld as Leinster youth blooms

AS the Ireland squad reconvened at Carton House yesterday ahead of the clash with Wales at Croke Park on Saturday week, it was confirmed that Declan Kidney would be without the services of hooker Jerry Flannery for the remainder of the tournament after the Munster man's appeal against a six-week ban failed.

Flannery had pleaded guilty to kicking France wing Alexis Palisson in the 33-10 defeat in Paris but, after expressing remorse for the offence, the Irish camp felt the sentence was excessive.

However, an independent Six Nations appeal committee upheld the original ban and agreed that the act was in the mid-range for the offence and that "the level of net mitigation applied was within the correct margin of appreciation".


A counter-appeal by the Six Nations disciplinary officer, which could have seen his ban increased, was also dismissed, meaning Flannery will be available for Munster's Magners League clash with Leinster on April 2 and their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Northampton on April 10.

Captain Brian O'Driscoll showed no ill effects from the blow to the head he picked up at Twickenham and took full part in training. Jamie Heaslip was the only Irish player to sit out training due to a slight ankle sprain.

Meanwhile, Leinster coach Michael Cheika will continue to give youth its fling, with Andrew Conway -- who struck for two tries in Ireland's U20 win over England -- and U20 captain Rhys Ruddock in the squad.

Cheika wants his side to all but secure a top-four Magners League spot before they return to Heineken Cup action on April 9 and they sit just three points off leaders the Ospreys with a game in hand.

Leinster (squad v Cardiff Blues) -- Forwards: Trevor Hogan, Bernard Jackman, Shane Jennings, Stephen Keogh, Ronan McCormack, Kevin McLaughlin, Malcolm O'Kelly, Mike Ross, Rhys Ruddock, Paul Ryan, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, CJ van der Linde, Stan Wright. Backs: Shaun Berne, Andrew Conway, Girvan Dempsey, David Kearney, Simon Keogh, Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden, Isa Nacewa, Paul O'Donohoe, Eoin O'Malley, Eoin Reddan.