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Lions captain Paul O'Connell during the Lions squad announcement at the Sofitel Hotel, Heathrow Airport, London. Photo by: PA Wire/PA Photos

O'Connell: Nothing between us

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Lions captain Paul O'Connell during the Lions squad announcement at the Sofitel Hotel, Heathrow Airport, London. Photo by: PA Wire/PA Photos

Munster are keeping a tight rein on expectations ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final clash with Leinster at Croke Park.
 
The defending champions are currently heavy favorites with most bookmakers, but Reds captain Paul O'Connell believes there will be nothing to choose between the sides.
 
"When I was growing up, the guy I hated to lose to most was my brother. After what we’ve achieved (with Ireland), we’ll be friends for life but (Leinster) are also the guys you hate to lose to most," he told reporters in Limerick on Tuesday. "I’m sure they’re saying the same thing.
 
"They are mentally very strong… they had a fabulous performance against Harlequins and I have a lot of respect for that win away from home against a very competent side.
 
"Their work around the break down is top-class - normally you target one guy in a team who is very strong around the break down but they have five or six guys very strong in that area, slowing down ball, poaching ball and getting penalties and it’s something we have to be very aware of.
 
"We keep a cap on over-confidence because we know we can be as bad as any side in the Magners League or the Heineken Cup on any given day if our heads aren’t right.
 
"We know how good we can be on our day but there’s a lot of hard work and concentration that goes into it and we don’t take that for granted.
 
"The media have to tag someone as favorite and underdog and one thing we’ve been good at is realizing that it’s all on the day, it’s a cup match, it’s knock-out rugby, something we were raised on.
 
"We know that no matter how big a team is as favorite or as underdog, it’s all down to the performance and what we bring to that day. That’s what we’ve been reminding ourselves all week."
 
Tony McGahan, meanwhile, has confirmed a 25-man squad for the game with the only change a replacement for injured scrum-half Tomás O’Leary in the form of Mike Prendergast.
 
Munster Squad: Denis Hurley, Paul Warwick, Doug Howlett, Kieran Lewis, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Barry Murphy, Ian Dowling, Mike Prendergast, Peter Stringer, Ronan O'Gara, Marcus Horan, Tony Buckley, Federico Pucciariello, John Hayes, Denis Fogarty, Jerry Flannery, Paul O'Connell, Mick O'Driscoll, Donncha O'Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, David Wallace, Denis Leamy.
 

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