Thursday 22 February 2018

O'Donnell determined to win back Munster shirt

Munster's Tommy O'Donnell
Munster's Tommy O'Donnell

Declan Rooney

Munster back-row Tommy O'Donnell certainly returned from injury with a bang after playing a key role in JJ Hanrahan's winning try in Perpignan, but all the Tipperary man wants now is time on the pitch.

After making his Ireland debut during the summer, a season that promised so much was interrupted when he damaged his knee ligaments against Zebre in September.

But now that he's back with a new Munster deal in his pocket, O'Donnell is desperate to rack up game time as he battles to get his Munster shirt back.

"It's great to be back. The year didn't get off exactly the way I wanted, but I knew once a timeline was established, I targeted a couple of games, rehab went very well and I'm just glad to be back.

"I had a day or two being a bit bitter and a bit angry, but once the surgery was over and done with, it was healing every day and I just got on with it. I was given a date of about 12 weeks and that's what I went for, just went about what I did, icing, compressing, working -- just getting yourself right again."

"I was probably tense enough knowing I was in a contract year and being injured, so I was just happy that we worked out a deal. I'm very happy to be staying here in Munster," says O'Donnell (left).

In his absence, Munster have gone on an impressive run in the Pro12, winning all eight of their games since returning from the Italian double-header. In that time, both CJ Stander and Sean Dougall have been mightily impressive for Rob Penney's side, but O'Donnell says he's up for the battle.

"(Sean's) been outstanding. There were a couple of turnovers there in the Perpignan game and he was absolutely outstanding. All credit to him. I think I have to fight to get my position back and it's not going to be an easy job the way he's playing.

"That's the best thing you could have at this time of the year, though.

"There are other positions around the team, but CJ's raring to get in and Paddy Butler's going to be back in a couple of weeks. It's exactly what you need."

O'Donnell is expected to play against Scarlets tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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