Connacht hit by fly-half crisis as AJ MacGinty ruled out for four weeks
USA international MacGinty suffered a shoulder injury in Saturday’s win over Leinster
Jack Carty is still out after having his spleen removed in February while Craig Ronaldson will be out for another three weeks
With MacGinty, Carty and Ronaldson all unavailable, former Grenoble player Shane O’Leary and Conor McKeon will be the candidates to start
Pro12 leaders Connacht have a fly-half crisis ahead of Friday’s game against Ulster after AJ MacGinty became their third number 10 to be ruled out.
The 26-year-old sustained a shoulder injury in Connacht’s 7-6 win over Leinster at the weekend.
The Dubliner, capped by the United States during the World Cup, is the third out-half to be ruled out through injury as Connacht prepare for crunch derby clashes with Ulster and Munster in the Pro12, with a European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Grenoble coming in between.
MacGinty’s absence leaves Connacht with a limited supply of players to fill the No 10 jersey as Craig Ronaldson is still out with an ankle injury and Jack Carty is in recovery after having his spleen removed following a freak accident.
Shane O’Leary and Conor McKeon are poised to be handed the duties forbut neither of them has started a game for Connacht in the Pro12.
O’Leary, the former Young Munster player who spent a season with Grenoble before joining Connacht in the summer of 2014, has made nine appearances for Pat Lam’s side. Six of those were off the bench in the Pro12 and the 23-year old’s only start was in one of his three European Challenge Cup appearances.
Former Irish schoolboy and U-20 international McKeon, who is in his second year in the Connacht academy, has made his only two appearances off the bench in the Pro12 against Zebre last May and last October.
Coach Pat Lam said it is disappointing to lose another out-half for the next few weeks but he is confident the others will step in and do a job.
“You can’t control the injuries. Of course we would love to have Jack, Craig and AJ available but you can’t cry over that, you just have to live on and the next person puts the jersey on and steps into the role.
“The No.1 thing is understanding the role and the next person putting on that jersey it’s his job to do it.”