Key Man O'Connell Looks a Doubt for Dublin Showdown

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Byline: By ANDY HOWELL Western Mail

Ireland could be without forward colossus Paul O'Connell when they face champions Wales at Lansdowne Road in 12 days' time, writes Andy Howell.

A scan has revealed the extent of the damage to the left shoulder that the British Lions lock forward suffered during Ireland's 43-31 defeat in France.

O'Connell played on with the injured shoulder heavily strapped and was one of the key figures in a mesmerising fight-back that nearly secured Ireland a stunning victory.

The 26-year-old's injury will be assessed next week but the Irish camp were last night admitting O'Connell is a doubt for the Dublin showdown.

Wales, meanwhile, have revealed lock Ian Gough played on despite dislocating a finger during the 28-18 victory over 14-man Scotland at the Millennium Stadium.

Gough's finger was put back into joint on the pitch by Welsh medical staff during the second half, and the Dragons forward had an X-ray on the finger yesterday.

'Ian's X-ray revealed no bone injury, leaving his training programme unaffected this week,' said team physio Mark Davies.

Gough, meanwhile, insisted Scotland second row Scott Murray was unfortunate to be dismissed for kicking him in the head during a 24th-minute off-the-ball clash.

'I feel sorry for Scott,' said Gough, before claiming, 'I mistimed a tackle on him from behind as I didn't see the ball had gone.

'He just lashed out as a reaction, something we've all done in the past, but his boot caught me in the head. …