Tuesday 20 February 2018

'O'Mahony features on the cover of the programme' - Paul Kimmage 'not buying' Heaslip injury explanation

Jamie Heaslip of Ireland
Jamie Heaslip of Ireland
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Paul Kimmage says he is 'not buying' the official explanation for Jamie Heaslip's absence from Ireland's win over England in the Six Nations finale last Saturday.

The Ireland stalwart, who rarely suffers from injury, was initially withdrawn with what was called a rolled ankle during the warm-up, which Ireland coach Joe Schmidt later branded a hamstring problem.

In Heaslip's absence, Peter O'Mahony stepped into the starting team and delivered a brilliant Man of the Match performance. Schmidt was asked in the post-match press conference whether Heaslip was truly injured during the warm-up or if the decision was actually a tactical call.

The Ireland boss flatly denied that there was anything untoward in Heaslip's withdrawal, but some people remain unconvinced.

The Irish coaching staff has been very tight-lipped about injuries in the past, and speaking on The Last Word with Matt Cooper on Today FM, Paul Kimmage said he 'wasn't buying' the official explanation.

"This is the man who never gets injured and then he gets injured warming up before an England game," Kimmage said, before reading the Irish Independent timeline of Heaslip's withdrawal.

"I'm looking at the timeline because this is what is really interesting about it. On Monday, O'Mahony is put forward as the senior player for Ireland's first press briefing of the week. On Thursday, Joe Schmidt names him on the bench, retaining his back row of Stander, O'Brien and Heaslip.

"On Saturday, O'Mahony features on the cover of the match programme and is the lead interview inside. And then the injury itself: who told him he rolled his ankle? Because when you roll your ankle, you roll your ankle - you definitely don't have a sore back. Where did that story come from?

"I'm not buying it. I think the truth will come out eventually. I'm not buying it anyway."

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