Fergus McFadden became the latest to join the Ireland injury list, ruled out last night with a rib injury from being involved against Italy on Saturday in the final game of this season’s Six Nations Championships.
Luke Marshall was also a doubt having suffered concussion. The Ulster centre, who won his second Ireland cap in the draw with France will return to play under the concussion protocol regulation.
If left Ireland coach, Declan Kidney licking his wounds once again after Eoin Reddan was ruled out for three months having broken his leg just above the ankle having just come off the bench in Saturday’s game in Dublin.
Reddan fell awkwardly beneath a tackle in the final minute of a compelling match at the Aviva Stadium and was administered oxygen before being carried off.
Ireland’s injury-depleted ranks were swelled even further by a number of other casualties with lock Donnacha Ryan damaging his shoulder, Conor Murray (knee), Brian O’Driscoll (leg and stitches to ear) and Peter O’Mahony (dead leg).
Kidney is likely to put back his team announcement to Thursday this week.
Already missing were lock Paul O’Connell, wings Tommy Bowe and Craig Gilroy, centre Gordon D’Arcy, flanker Stephen Ferris and fly-half Jonathan Sexton.
Head coach Kidney, however, refused to complain about Ireland’s misfortune.
“We took a conscious decision that we wouldn’t complain about things. Other people are worse off than we are, plus it’s such an insult to the lads coming on and having a huge go,” Kidney said.
“We’re frustrated, but there are lads coming in who have no experience at this level under their belts and are doing such a good job for us.
“On any given day Paul O’Connell, Tommy Bowe, Stephen Ferris and Jonathan Sexton would be in the running for a Lions spot.
“I’ve never experienced an injury run like this, but you work your way through and I spoke to (captain) Jamie Heaslip about it and we agreed not to complain.”
Kidney will have Sexton returning this week and it would be a brave call if he asked the departing Leinster outhalf to take the bench behind Ulster’s Paddy Jackson who won his second cap against the French and put in a solid display.
For the third straight game in the Championship, Ireland failed to close the door on a game they should have won.
“The players have taken everything that’s been thrown at them and just got on with it,” Kidney said.
“So to put our foot forward like that and be creating in the way we are doing actually adds to the frustration.
“The players are down, but that’s the measure of how much they push themselves and why I stand by them so much. In another time the team would be so much stronger for what’s happening at the moment.”
Since beating Wales on the opening day, Ireland have lost to England and Scotland and drawn with Italy, prompting captain Heaslip to voice his frustration. The feeling is that was a match we could have won has been there for the last three games,” Heaslip said.