Paul O'Connell will not be cited after clash with Dave Kearney

Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell

Paul O'Connell's Lions hopes received a boost after he discovered he will not be cited over the incident involving Dave Kearney on Saturday which left the Leinster man concussed and in hospital.

Citing commissioner Eddie Walsh decided O'Connell, 33, did not kick Kearney in the head during Leinster's Pro12 win.

A fly-hack from O'Connell on 62 minutes did connect with the winger's head.

But Walsh concluded O'Connell's shin hit the prostrate Kearney on the head, while his foot connected with the ball.

The commissioner's view was that there was no intention by O'Connell, who has 85 Ireland and six Lions caps, to kick the grounded player and that the 2009 Lions captain accidentally made contact with the head of his opponent.

Any potential sanction handed out to O'Connell would have had serious implications for Munster's Heineken Cup semi-final against Clermont on 27 April.

A ban could also have had an impact on the second row's hopes of being part of the Lions tour to Australia this summer.

O'Connell missed a large part of the season, including Ireland's Six Nations campaign, because of a back injury that eventually required surgery, and had been considered a long shot to make what would be his third Lions tour.

But he returned to action ahead of schedule and his good form, including a storming performance in Munster's upset Heineken Cup win over Harlequins 10 days ago, has led to speculation that a strong end to the season could see the 6ft 6in Munster second row make the plane for the tour of Australia this summer.