7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
The 31-year-old missed Munster's quarter and semi-final appearances in Europe's premier club competition last season but should feature for his side's Pool 3 back-to-back fixtures against the Ospreys in December.
O'Connell is expected to line up for Young Munster in their All-Ireland League clash with Shannon at Thomond Park.
"We're delighted with the progress he's making," said Munster team manager Shaun Payne.
"Obviously, Paulie is delighted. There is nothing worse for him than having to sit on the sidelines and watch. It's been a very frustrating time for him since last year's Six Nations. But now he's bursting to get back into it.
"He's had no more set-backs over the last couple of months and his return is a good four weeks ahead of schedule.
"This weekend will be another step and if he progresses past that, then Cardiff will be the next step."