Sean O’Brien back on Leinster bench as Heffernan captains Connacht

SEAN O’BRIEN IS poised to make his return to action after five months sidelined with a shoulder injury.

The Tullow Tank missed most of the second half of Leinster and Ireland’s trophy-laden  season thanks to hip and shoulder problems, but Leinster’s rich back row resources have been boosted for the inter-pro trip to Galway (Saturday 17.15 TG4 and eir Sport)  as O’Brien takes a place among the replacements.

Josh van der Flier continues in O’Brien’s favoured number 7 shirt, with Rhys Ruddock and Jack Conan completing the back row. 

Scrum-half Nick McCarthy also returns from injury to make the bench, deputising Luke McGrath who partners Johnny Sexton as the 10 starts a third straight game for the eastern province.

Former Connacht man Sean Cronin packs down in the front row between Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong, while behind the pack Joe Tomane partners Garry Ringrose in midfield and Rob Kearney comes back in at fullback to bump Jordan Larmour to the wing.

Connacht will hope to see an impact from their own Sean O’Brien. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Hosts Connacht are captained by hooker Dave Heffernan in the absence of the injured Jarrad Butler. 

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Colby Fainga’a takes the openside slot in the skipper’s absence, with the in-form Paul Boyle returning to the bench. Gavin Thornbury’s early injury last weekend brings a start for Ultan Dillane.

The back-line is unchanged from the impressive win over Scarlets with Bundee Aki and Tom Farrell continuing their impressive midfield partnership outside the assured Jack Carty.


15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Cian Kelleher
13. Tom Farrell
12. Bundee Aki
11. Matt Healy
10. Jack Carty
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Denis Buckley
2. Dave Heffernan Capt.
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Ultan Dillane
5. Quinn Roux
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Colby Fainga’a
8. Robin Copeland

16. Tom McCartney
17. Peter McCabe
18. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
19. James Cannon
20. Paul Boyle
21. Caolin Blade
22. Craig Ronaldson
23. Niyi Adeolokun


15. Rob Kearney
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Joe Tomane
11. James Lowe
10. Johnny Sexton Capt
9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy
2. Seán Cronin
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. Scott Fardy
6. Rhys Ruddock
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan


16. James Tracy
17. Ed Byrne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Ross Molony
20. Seán O’Brien
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Ross Byrne
23. Rory O’Loughlin

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