Heineken Cup 2008 – We Won!!!

Cedric Heymans stood out on the pitch, alone, after all his team-mates had gone back to the dressing-room. As the Munster team began to pay homage to their travelling support, Heymans just stood there looking around him at the 75,000 screaming, red-clad Munster supporters and you could see both recognition and respect. Heymans knew he’d just played the game of his life against great opposition, and there was nothing to regret. He’d put his body on the line for 80 minutes, but what can you do against a team with guts and skill and professionalism and 75,000 travelling red-clad lunatics screaming at you for every one of those 80 minutes?

Nothing. You just stand there and look, and in return receive the respect and admiration of those 75,000 lunatics for being a great member of a great French team.

There was no triumphalism, just pride, and we shook hands with every Toulouse supporter we met.

Bon match!

Merci. Well played.

The two French supporters in front of us stayed until the Munster players had taken the Cup all around the stadium, presenting it to every last one of the travelling Munster horde, and the two Frenchmen applauded with the rest of us. One of them held his phone up to the crowd for somebady back home to hear.

The Welshman sitting next to me was in tears.

I thought you were neutral, I said.

I was, he replied.

Bullet looked stoic and stared straight ahead but his eyes glistened and he wore that tight little smile that tells me he’s holding them back. I hugged him again.

I never thought I’d see something more intense than the 2006 final, but I saw it on Saturday. I have never in all my life experienced anything as extreme, as frenetic, as nakedly crazy as the sight and the sound of those 75,000 screaming red Munster supporters willing their team to hold out for those last ten minutes. Willing, and demanding and screaming and cursing and singing and waving and howling and jumping up and down and holding their hands over their eyes and shouting and singing and screaming.

I have never seen the like.

This is better than the Grand Slam, said the Welshman and I think I believed him.

Cardiff went crazy. There was Limerick on the giant screen.  Limerick people back home going nuts as they watched the game on their own giant screens in the street. Our friends at home. The stadium went even crazier. Bananas. People crying. People hugging. People standing silently with their eyes shut.

Never in all my days have I experienced the like of it, nor probably ever will again.

I’ll bring you pictures when I get home, but for now, keep the faith and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.



Heineken Cup 2008 – Pictures

12 thoughts on “Heineken Cup 2008 – We Won!!!

  1. Unbeleivable. Travelling to the match and upto midday on Saturday the atmosphere seemed quiet. Toulouse fans were very noticable in their color and noise. The red army had invaded Cardiff but seemed quieter in the morning than 2006. The first 15 minutes of the match all signs began to point to a Toulouse win. A TMO decision ignited the stadium and Munster. After that was the most intense match I had ever witnessed. Praying for full time whistle, half expecting a break away Toulouse try to steal an unlikely victory gave way to an almost orgasmic realise of noise to greet another win. Toulouse players and fans contributed to one of the best match atmospheres I have ever witnessed. Champions again. a hard fought hard earned win against a team (and fans) that would grace any rugby final. Can Munster ever do it the easy way? My finger nails and my heart could not take another match like this.

  2. Heymans was pure class throughout the game. His build-up to their try was the highlight of the game in my opinion……if he was so impressed by the Munster atmosphere, maybe he’ll want to move over here. I’d much rather see Hurley make the place his own though.

  3. I’m living in Vancouver now and it’s times like this you really miss home. For 06 i was screaming the house down at 5am in Auckland. This time I had to make do with a crappy webcast. No one here cares of course. I got a phone call from my cousins who there and they also said it was better than 06.
    The last 10\15 might not have been pretty but a master class in how to close out a game. The forwards were awesome. A pity Howlett’s try wasn’t allowed but the pass was forward.

    Was the fanbase really that skewed? 75,000 capacity how many were Munster and how many Toulouse?

  4. Games via Setanta are delayed this side of the pond…I’d been so good to avoid any Irish blogs for the details…..but, alas, I weakened….just after the half, I couln’t take the suspense any longer….so away I did go to take a peek!! ;)

    Congratulations!! :)

    funny!! :D

  5. Same answer to everyone: It was fuckin great. And to Sam, you’re right. Bullet will never forget it, and neither will I.

  6. Even over here in San Francisco you could feel the emotion. I was rung dry after it, my phone leaping off the table with inbound texts from Limerick and Cardiff, and to my surprise my Dublin friends. I was in Limerick the weekend before the game – I picked the wrong weekend to be home :(

  7. I was there Bock as you know and I have no problem saying I was bawling like a new born at final whistle… kissing strangers all around me.. watchiugn the sheer awe of so called neutral supporters just looking and listening to us.. then they realise that there is no club in the world as poassionate as us.

    Even at the final whistle you see the players sprinting into the crowd.. no other team do that.. we are a part of the team and I cant wait for next year. Going to book Edinburgh as soon as possible. What a weekend.. it WAS better than 2006! bananas is perfect as you put it.

    Hurray and well done to us all!!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.