I nearly forgot to mention it. What did you think of the Munster-Leinster game? Leaving aside all the penalties, which went against Munster as much as the visitors, I thought it was a fine performance by the home team.
I hadn’t seen Conor Murray at scrum-half before, but I thought he was outstanding. In my opinion, far more impressive than Tomás O Leary, and a fit successor for Stringer who, by the way, might arguably have been the deciding factor when brought on in the last ten minutes.
The first half was all Leinster and they sure have become an impressive outfit, although they were let down by the choice of Isaac Boss at Number 9, and to our relief, or perhaps because he was neutralised, by the failure of Seán O Brien to drive through the Munster defence. Whatever. Either way, the visitors were an impressive and dangerous proposition right to the final whistle, and if BOD hadn’t been binned, we might have been looking at a different result. Hey, shit happens. We were on the end of harsh decisions too, and it’s not as if Leinster hadn’t been warned before Brian got his marching orders. The crowd gave him hard time as he walked off, but it’s affectionate too. We all know what a great player he is and what a marvellous soldier he’s been for Ireland. This rivalry is good and positive.
I didn’t recognise the referee but I thought he was doing a bit too much grandstanding which is never a good sign. The game should not be about the referee. He should be anonymous.
One major downside was the sight of Paul O Connell collapsing in extreme pain after an obviously severe injury. The implications are beyond local rugby. This affects the World Cup campaign, something we do not want to be attending without such a leader. With all respect to other players, there is nobody else like POC for keeping everything tight and coherent during a game. He makes the team work, in every sense of the word.
Obviously, I’m biased in favour of Munster, but still, wasn’t it great to beat the old rivals after such a long time? Six games is almost unbearable, and yes, it’s true that we beat them by the smallest of margins. All credit to the visitors, but some credit also to Mr O Gara for having nerves of steel..
At the moment, I don’t feel optimistic about the future of Munster rugby for various reasons. Some have to do with the resources available to us, and some are about the broader economic climate where our young guys are emigrating.
On top of that, we’re losing some of our greatest players. Quinlan and Hayes are due for retirement. Warwick is moving. Flannery might not return to the game. Buckley is leaving.
That’s why moments like this are to be enjoyed, even if we have to acknowledge the grim reality that they’re in the Heineken Cup and we’re not. Damn, that’s an awful thought, but at least we have more cups than they do, for now.