Triple injury blow places further strain on Munster's resources
MUNSTER have been rocked by a triple injury blow with the news that Felix Jones, Ian Dowling and Denis Fogarty will be out for most of the season.
All three players were injured in Saturday's 22-10 Magners League victory over champions Ospreys and Munster say the trio face a "lengthy period" on the sidelines.
Full-back Jones missed much of last season following a career-threatening neck injury but had worked his way back to fitness and made an impressive start to the new campaign.
However, the cruciate ligament damage Jones sustained to his left knee on Saturday could rule him out for up to six months. Dowling also looks unlikely to be available for a large portion of the season after hurting his hip and while it is unclear how long the winger will be out of action, it is expected to mean several months of rehabilitation.
Hooker Fogarty was forced off after half an hour with a shoulder injury and, following an operation yesterday, Munster expect him to be out until the new year.
With captain Paul O'Connell already on the long-term injury list and Keith Earls yet to feature this season, it is a further test of Munster's resources, which have come through strongly so far as three wins have pushed Tony McGahan's side to the summit of the Magners League table.
In the backline, Denis Hurley and the fit-again Lifeimi Mafi will come into the equation. With Jerry Flannery yet to feature at hooker, cover behind the in-form Damien Varley has become an issue with Mike Sherry the next option.
Leinster have included injured duo Kevin McLaughlin and Leo Cullen in their Heineken Cup squad submitted to the ERC, although their availability for the pool games in October is doubtful. Injured prop Stan Wright is not included but can be added in the new year with Simon Shawe and Ben Prescott included in his absence.