O’Connell and Munster lose 4-week ban appeal

Ireland and Munster lock Paul O’Connell lost his appeal against a four-week ban for striking an opponent during a Heineken Cup clash on Thursday.

The British and Irish Lions captain in South Africa last year, was sent off for lashing out at Ospreys’ number eight Jonathan Thomas on December 12.

A three-man appeals panel found that O’Connell, who was red-carded in his comeback match following a groin injury, had not demonstrated the original decision had been in error or that it should be overturned or varied, and therefore dismissed the appeal.

O’Connell can play again from January 10.

He will miss Munster’s next three Magners League games, but will be available for the twice-European champions’ final two Heineken Cup pool games away to Toulon and at home against London Irish.

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