Cronin a final worry while Leinster play down concerns over Ruddock
As Leinster confirmed winger Adam Byrne will miss the rest of the season with a quad injury, they will be hopeful that luckless Irish hooker Seán Cronin does not suffer the same fate as time ticks down on the side's audacious attempt to secure a second successive trophy double.
Cronin began last Sunday's semi-final in typically destructive mood but ended the sun-splashed afternoon of triumph in despair, the calf injury which struck him down in the 34th minute of the contest leaving him in crutches and sweating on his availability for a defining May run-in. Cronin has had the injury scanned but the prognosis is uncertain.
"At the moment, he's getting assessed," reported assistant coach John Fogarty. "We're not quite sure how he's going to pan out.
"He's a pretty important player for us, but we have some time. Seán will need it to get himself back but we won't know for sure just yet.
Monitored "He'll be assessed and monitored and then there will be markers this week he has to hit. To say he'll be back and flying it wouldn't be truthful.
"At this moment in time, he can't train or play. Hopefully, he'll do a small bit of running later in the week but right now, he's a concern."
Fogarty also dampened concussion fears surrounding Rhys Ruddock after the international flanker, who had reported issues following the RDS clash with Ulster last month, was taken unwell last Saturday and was pulled from the semi-final line-up.
He has re-entered the graduated Return to Play Protocols but Fogarty has eased any concerns about the potential for a lengthy lay-off.
"There was an original head knock against Ulster. He wasn't feeling quite right and the lads are unbelievably strict with all that stuff.
"And when he said he wasn't feeling great, with the type of game that it was, you couldn't put him out in it.
"He's in return to play protocols. We'll see how he goes.
"He's not someone who has had a huge amount of head knocks and it affects people in different ways.
"There is nothing sinister behind the scenes, he really isn't feeling 100 per cent. He'll hopefully get himself right because this next few weeks are going to be epic."
Andrew Porter (pectoral muscle) and Jamison Gibson-Park (hamstring) are expected to feature in the dead rubber game at Kingspan Stadium this Saturday in a side likely to feature wholesale changes.