Quinlan’s Lions dream in balance

Alan Quinlan could be ruled out of the British & Irish Lions tour if found guilty of eye gouging in the European Cup semi-final.

The Munster loose forward has been cited for allegedly gouging Leo Cullen of Leinster.

If found guilty and subsequently suspended the Ireland flanker will surely be cut from the Lions squad, given that the offence carries a lengthy suspension.

John Byett, the independent citing commissioner from England, will study television replays of the incident, and make a ruling on Monday.

The replays show Quinlan making contact with Cullen’s right eye. The Times of London reports that Cullen appeared at the post-match press conference with a welt stretching from below his eye to his forehead

Paul O’Connell, Munster and Lions captain, doesn’t believe Quinlan would have intentionally eye gouged Cullen. ‘Quinny isn’t that type of guy,’ he said. ‘He is a tough player. It is the one thing he hasn’t got in his record book. If it looked bad, I am sure there was nothing in it.’

If Quinlan is suspended his place in the Lions squad is likely to be filled by either Tom Croft or Ryan Jones.