Retiring O'Kelly steps in for Cullen
May 11, 2010
Malcolm O'Kelly will retire at the end of the season © Getty Images
Leinster will go into their Magners League semi-final against Munster at the RDS on Saturday without skipper Leo Cullen, while his likely replacement, Malcolm O'Kelly, has announced that he will hang up his boots at the end of the season.
Cullen picked up a shoulder injury in his side's thrilling victory over Edinburgh in Dublin last weekend and will not recover in time, but there is hope that fly-half Jonathan Sexton will play some part after missing recent games with a fractured jaw. The Ireland pivot has been named alongside injury worries Gordon D'Arcy and Shaun Berne in the squad for the game, which will likely be played in front of a packed house.
O'Kelly has been drafted into the panel by coach Michael Cheika but has decided to call time on a sparkling career. The giant lock, 35, won 92 caps for Ireland and was for a time their most-capped player, also touring with the British & Irish Lions to Australia in 2001. In the colours of Leinster he has thus far made 186 appearances since his debut in 1995. In 2009 he started alongside Cullen in the engine room as the province won their first Heineken Cup title against Leicester at Murrayfield.
Following open criticism of the standard of refereeing in the Magners League following victory over Edinburgh, Brian O'Driscoll's hopes have been answered with Welsh official Nigel Owens confirmed for the meeting with Munster. Ireland's George Clancy will control Friday's showdown between the Ospreys and Glasgow in Swansea.