We were stuffed.
Every Leinster player was better than his opposite number, with the possible exceptions of Doug Howlett and Jerry Flannery.
Leinster were better than us and we have no cause for whingeing. The better team won.
The first half was played almost entirely inside our 22, it seemed to me, and whenever Munster counter-attacked, Leinster dug in with the sort of intensity we’ve never seen until recent times. They defended everything and Munster rarely looked likely to score anything. Going in at half-time only 11-6 behind, I thought we were lucky to get off so lightly, and the other Munster supporters I spoke to agreed. Everyone felt unhappy with the shape of the game.
I don’t know what the plan was. Did the management team become complacent? Did the players just assume we’d win? I’d find that hard to believe, but nothing is impossible. On the other hand, credit has to go to people like Brian O Driscoll, Luke Fitzgerald and Rocky Elsom who had a huge game, and who was, in my opinion, instrumental in the Leinster win. We were never going to shove the ball over the line, and they stopped us from running it despite one or two nice Munster breaks.
When O Driscoll intercepted a pass and ran the length of the pitch to score a try between the posts, we were dead. There was no coming back from that.
All in all, it was a comprehensive win for Leinster which they fully deserved and there can be no complaints about it.
The atmosphere in Limerick reminds me of the old Max Boyce story about a funeral inthe valleys. As they were burying the deceased, one of the mourners was listening to the rugby on a small radio, and just as the coffin was lowered into the ground, word came through that the local team had lost.
You know, he said, it cast a terrible gloom over the whole thing.