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Keeping Sean O'Brien in Ireland a 'great coup', says Alan Quinlan

Updated: Friday, 17 Jan 2014 13:47 | Comments

Sean O'Brien will continue to ply his trade in Ireland
Sean O'Brien will continue to ply his trade in Ireland

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Keeping Sean O’Brien at Leinster is a huge boost for Irish rugby, according to former international Alan Quinlan.

The Tullow wing-forward had been strongly linked to a move to France, which would have seen him following former team-mate Johnny Sexton, who moved to Top 14 side Racing Metro last year.

But yesterday the IRFU announced that O’Brien, 26, would remain with the triple European champions for the next two years.

RTÉ analyst Quinlan said: “I think it went right down to the wire, there was certainly an option to go to France.

“It’s great to see one the top internationals staying. There’s been a fair bit said over the last year or two over the Johnny Sexton move.

"The opportunities are there, there’s a lot of money in France and it’s a great coup by the IRFU and Leinster to keep a player of Sean’s quality.”

Fellow back-rower Jamie Heaslip has also been linked with a move away from the Blues.

However, Leinster Rugby CEO Mick Dawson told RTÉ that he is confident that a deal can be done to keep the 30-year-old.

“Nothing will happen this week but we’ll be talking next week and I’ll be hoping we can get Jamie across the line,” he said.

“We've worked very hard to get to where we are in terms of our ranking in Europe, in terms of our brand, how we think we’re perceived and to lose iconic players certainly doesn't help that so it’s great that [O’Brien] decided to stay.”

Live and exclusive radio coverage of Leicester v Ulster on Saturday Sport from 2:45pm on Saturday 18 January on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).

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