Bonfire accident threatens to end Clohessy's season

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The Independent Online

Peter Clohessy, the rough-and-ready prop forward from Limerick who ran down the curtain on an eventful 54-cap international career after Ireland's Six Nations defeat in Paris on Saturday, may miss the rest of his final representative season after suffering burns in an accident at his home.

The 36-year-old forward was treated at University College Hospital in Galway on Monday night, and while he was discharged yesterday, he is considered unlikely to recover in time for Munster's Heineken Cup semi-final with Castres in Béziers a fortnight on Saturday.

Clohessy, who recently opened a bar called 'The Sin Bin', was burning rubbish in his garden when, according to reports in Ireland, a small explosion occurred. Initially, it was thought the player sustained burns to his face, but a Munster spokesman said yesterday that the most serious damage was to the right forearm.

"We do not know at this stage whether Peter will be fit for the Castres match," the spokesman said. "Our concern at the moment is with his well-being. At least he has been allowed to return home."

If "The Claw" fails to make the semi-final encounter, Munster will miss every ounce of his awesome presence. Considered good enough to be pencilled in for the British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa in 1997 – when he missed out through injury, his countryman Paul Wallace stepped up and played in all three Tests – his contribution to Munster's long run of Heineken success has been on the large side of massive.

A highly-skilled footballer whose occasional violent excesses blinded many to his technical qualities, he received a standing ovation from the Irish supporters when he left the field at the Stade de France at the weekend.

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