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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Paul O'Connell knocks out Dave Kearney with clumsy kick to the head

Leinster beat Munster 22-16 at a wet Thomond Park thanks to a late match-winning try by Brian O'Driscoll, but it was an ugly incident in the last quarter that had everyone talking, and could mean a few weeks on the sideline for Paul O'Connell.

The Leinster win meant that they move to second on the RaboDirect Pro12 table, three points behind leaders Ulster. O'Driscoll's try actually came from over 25 phases of possesion, before the Ireland legend dived over from close to seal the win.

Earlier in the game O'Connell, who has been in great form, kicked at the ball with little regard for Dave Kearney, who had his hand on the ball and his head between it and POC's sizable boot.

Kearney left the field unconcious from the blow, and referee Nigel Owens and his officials failed to see it, so O'Connell avoided punishment at the time. 

"He was unconscious for a period of time. He's come back around and has probably asked the question 10 times, 'Did I catch it?'" Leinster coach Joe Schmidt told TheScore.

"He's going to be pretty relieved when he sees the footage that he did catch the ball. He's not in great shape at the moment. The main disappointment at the moment is, he has really come on.

"He's played a number of games in a row and was getting into a rhythm. He's likely to miss a few games now. That's probably his biggest frustration," he added.

View a highlights recap from the game on page 2

Clearly dangerous, it was more irresponsible than intentional - what kind of ban will this bring?

UPDATE: O'Connell has escaped sanction after the incident was viewed by citing commissioner Eddie Walsh to be careless and nothing more. It was decided that he was making a genuine attempt to kick the ball, and there was no deliberate intent.

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