Double Heineken Cup winner Denis Leamy will miss the start of Munster's campaign to retain the Heineken Cup due to a shoulder injury.
Leamy faces four months on the sidelines after he undergoes a shoulder reconstruction operation in London next Monday and looks set to miss at least the first two pool matches of Munster's title defence.
The Tipperary native, who scored a try in Munster's Cardiff 2008 win over Toulouse last May, will also miss all of Ireland's autumn international matches.
Leamy had been troubled with a shoulder injury towards the latter end of the season but the surgery was postponed until the summer months. Leamy has lined out for the province on 30 times in the Heineken Cup and has scored 50 points for the double winners.
Munster will face familiar foes in ASM Clermont Auvergne, Sale Sharks and tournament debutants Montauban in Pool 1 of the 2008/09 Heineken Cup.
Finals Edition: Listen to the best guide to the European Rugby Cup Finals weekend in Dublin, which sees Leinster Rugby take on Stade Francais Paris at the RDS on Friday night in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final and then ASM Clermont Auvergne tackle Toulon in an all-French affair at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.