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Six Nations: Ireland injury crisis worsens as Dave Kearney, Mike McCarthy and Sean O'Brien are ruled out of England clash

By Jonathan Bradley

Ireland's rocky Six Nations campaign has been dealt a further blow with three starters from Saturday's loss to France set to miss the trip to England at the end of the month.

Dave Kearney and Mike McCarthy will be absent with an AC joint injury and concussion respectively but the biggest loss will be flanker Sean O'Brien.

The twice-capped Lion missed the draw against Wales with a hamstring problem and lasted only 20 minutes in the Stade de France before tearing the muscle.

Coach Joe Schmidt also offered updates on Johnny Sexton and Ulster's Jared Payne (left) who are being monitored ahead of the Twickenham visit.

"Sean O'Brien unfortunately has a grade two hamstring tear that will make him unavailable for the England game and we'll see how he tracks after that," revealed the head coach.

"With Jonathan Sexton, it's his neck and shoulder, it's more of a kind of a whiplash injury but he's feeling a lot better 48 hours post game.

"Jared Payne has a grade one hamstring strain. He certainly won't train this week."

Ireland were incensed by hits made on Sexton and Kearney by the French but lock Devin Toner says they are not the type of team to retaliate.

"The temptation is always there but we pride ourselves on discipline and that we can rise above it," he said.

Ireland will today confirm today a November international against New Zealand in Chicago's Soldier Field.

Belfast Telegraph

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