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Victory is painful for blues

LEINSTER'S Brian O'Driscoll will find out for sure on Thursday whether he will be able to play against Ulster in the Heineken Cup final next Saturday.

The Ireland captain fell foul of a knee/ankle injury at training last Thursday and was quickly removed for further inspection. The damage is not thought to be as serious as first feared.

The empty Leinster casualty ward is filling with not-so-old soldiers who will have to repair quickly if they are to convince coach Joe Schmidt that they are fit for the purpose of claiming a third European crown in four years. There is greater confidence over the back injury that ruled full-back Rob Kearney out of Leinster's 19-15 defeat of Glasgow Warriors in the PRO12 League semi-final on Saturday night.

However, the medical staff will be working overtime to assist in the rehabilitation of loose-head prop Cian Healy (leg), centre Gordon D'Arcy (head) - he had to have stitches - and Eoin Malley, who has been all but ruled out with a leg injury.

"Eoin doesn't look too good to be honest. He has had a pretty rough knock on the knee, so he is going off to get scanned," admitted Schmidt.

"Cian was walking fine by the time he got to the sideline, it was as much precautionary as anything else. He might have a little bit of inflammation around the ankle, but that's it.

"I think Gordon D'Arcy just got a knock and split the top of his eye. I'd say after 12 years of professional rugby, it's stitching on top of stitching now.

"It's just a case of the eye closing over a little bit. Your depth of perception becomes a little bit blurred so we thought that we were better off to take Gordon off and look after him for next week".

The Warriors lived up their name with a superb defensive display that showed how to close down and almost snuff out Leinster's myriad attacking weapons.

Eventually, the educated boot of Jonathan Sexton and a magical cameo from Isa Nacewa opened the door for wing Dave Kearney to snatch his third try of the season in the 69th minute.

This was merely an invitation for Glasgow to hit back with all of their might to conjure excellent tries by replacement hooker Dougie Hall and full-back Stuart Hogg.

"I was delighted with the effort and the endeavour. We certainly didn't hold back," announced Schmidt.

"I thought we defended really well for the 70 minutes until we got enough of a buffer and then we relaxed a little bit knowing that we had the game. Credit to Glasgow that they came back a little bit.

"On attack it was a really frustrating night.

"I think we got some nice line-breaks early on and didn't look after the ball particularly well which was very frustrating.

"I know talking to the players post-match that there was a lot of frustration around the breakdown."

Glasgow coach Sean Lineen certainly went out with a bang in his last match in charge of the club and he can feel proud of the intensity and organisation of his players.

"For Glasgow it is onwards and upwards. I'm just so proud of what they've done this season. As I said in the dressing room, Glasgow are going to win something. We're edging closer," reviewed Lineen.

"They battled and they never gave an inch but we were just maybe not quite as slick as them. We didn't have that composure and direction to get over the line.

Opportunity

"It's looking good for Glasgow. It's someone else's turn now, I was lucky enough to get an opportunity nine years ago," he said, ahead of former Scotland fly-half Gregor Townsend taking over as head coach in the summer.

Thus, Leinster earned a renewal of the 2010 Magners League final against The Ospreys, in which the Welsh club came to Dublin and delivered on their undoubted potential.

It would be wise to respect The Ospreys, as Leinster undoubtedly will, because they are the one club in the League that is capable of playing at or close to Leinster's level.


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