Sunday 18 February 2018

Donncha O’Callaghan 'gutted' at Cian Healy's Lions exit

Tara Cunningham

THIS morning Cian Healy’s Lions Tour came to a tragic end, after a scan confirmed that he’d suffered extensive ankle ligament damage.

The Ireland and Leinster prop is due to return home in the coming days.

On hearing the news, Munster and Ireland rugby player, Donncha O’Callaghan expressed his disappointment.

“I’m gutted to hear it”, Donncha told the Irish Independent.

Donncha, like many of the nation, had high aspirations for Cian Healy on this year’s Lions Tour.

“I think he would have been a shining star”, Donncha added.

Whilst the Leinster and Ireland teams are both aware of prowess on the rugby field, Donncha believed Cian had yet to make his mark on the international platform.

“We all know how good a player he is, but I don’t think the other teams would have known it yet. I think he was going to use it as his stage to break on to another level”, Donncha said.

However, despite the Cian’s devastating news, Donncha insists he should remain optimistic.

“He’s young, and I’ve no doubt he’ll there in four years time”, he added.

Meanwhile O'Callaghan admitted he'd love to earn another cap for Ireland.

“I’ve never been so driven.  I would do anything to get on and get one cap”, Donncha told the Irish Independent.

Missing the tour, has given Donncha the chance to ensure he is in peak condition for next year.

“I’ll do everything I can next year, I’m going to be as fit and as strong and play as well as I can”, he added.

However, despite his optimism, Donncha expressed his disappointment at missing the summer tour.

“I don’t like to miss out, and this is probably my first time in thirteen years not touring.

Like everyone you want to be on the big stage and playing the big matches. But I’ve been given the chance to go home and sharpen the blade and get fuel for the fire”, the Munster rugby star said. 

Donncha has been in contact with the Irish squad since their departure for their North American Tour. He believes that a tough game lies ahead of the Irish rugby team, which will be captained by Peter O’Mahony.

Despite being one of the few rugby players left behind, he remains focused on the game. 

“I feel like I’m the only one left here. But it’s given me a bit of perspective in terms of my hunger to play”, the 34 year old told The Irish Independent.

Whilst he may have missed a place on the tour, Donncha admitted his love for the sport still burns brightly.

“My hunger’s gone through the roof for it. I love rugby so it doesn’t ever feel like a chore”, he said.

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