Friday 23 March 2018

Cian Healy over 'dark days' as Ireland declare their 31-man squad fit and healthy

Healy underwent neck surgery in May to repair a disc but has returned to full fitness
Healy underwent neck surgery in May to repair a disc but has returned to full fitness
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland have reported a clean bill of health five days out from their opening World Cup game against Canada.

Having suffered concussion against England, Conor Murray has completed his return to play protocols and will train fully this afternoon.

Rob Kearney will do likewise after recovering from a bruised knee that kept him out of the defeat at Twickenham.

There was also positive news regarding the fitness of Cian Healy and he could be set for his first appearance since May following neck surgery.

“Cian is great,” Ireland team manager Michael Kearney said at Ireland’s Carton House base.

“Obviously he had a few dark days over the course of the summer but towards the end of August, he made fantastic progress and has been in full training for the last two weeks.

“I’m delighted to report that he is fit and available for selection at the weekend against Canada.

“He’s worked incredibly hard over the last few months. I suppose there was a degree of pessimism about him for a while but certainly towards the end of August, that all turned good and he’s been really flying and in great form since then. It would be great to see him get some game time this weekend,” he added.

Rory Best welcomed the return of “world-class” Healy and admitted that his teammates weren’t surprised by his powers of recovery.

The hooker had formed a formidable partnership in the front-row alongside Healy but he maintained that Jack McGrath’s performances have softened the blow of losing him.

“Cian is obviously a world class player. He’s made an unbelievable recovery but we sort of know that about him,” Best said.

“Anyone who has followed him will know that he has a tendency to come back quickly.

“To have that capability within your squad is great. With Ireland, we’re lucky to have both Jack and Cian who are both fantastic players.

“I think you saw Jack McGrath really coming to the fire in the last Six Nations.

“The way he played in all the games has probably put pressure on Cian and you can see the way he responded and has come back and is hungrier than ever to get that starting spot and establish himself again as the world class player that he is.”

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