Munster's decision to dispense with the services of James Cronin has been described as "awful" and "madness".

The province announced yesterday that the 30-year-old prop would leave at the end of the season. He has made 142 appearances and won three Irish caps to date.

"I think it’s an awful decision," former Munster and Ireland captain Donal Lenihan told the RTÉ Rugby podcast.

"The optics are poor. This is a homegrown fella. He’s only 30 years of age so his best three or four years are ahead of him.

"He’s had a fantastic season, he’s never started more games for Munster.

"Dave Kilcoyne is neck and neck with Cian Healy for the Irish loosehead jersey at the moment and James Cronin isn’t that far behind him.

"It does come down to money but this is a decision they got wrong."

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Former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman added that he believed the decision not to keep Cronin, who was suspended in April of last year for an unintentional anti-doping violation, is "madness".

"I’d rather have two or three players less [in the wider squad] and have to go to the AIL to get a player if I am stuck to play a Pro16 match next year but have the artillery on the bench or in the starting team to be able to win a knock-out stage match in Europe with James Cronin.

"They are not going to be able to replace James Cronin with a non-Irish qualified equivalent.

"I reckon it’s just down to a mismanagement of their budget, spending too much in certain areas and it’s going to cost them next year at some stage.

"Cronin has experience in the bank, he’s been there, done that. It’s money I’d be willing to spend to have that second top-end loosehead there."

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