Off to Thomond Park

Munster vs Northampton

Right.  The hour is almost at hand.

All my superstitious little rituals are complete.

The hip-flask is full of brandy.  The dog has been soundly beaten.  I’m wearing my Peter Griffin t-shirt that says Buy me another drink – you’re still ugly.  I have my lucky Pope-on-a-rope tied to my left ankle.  I’ve had a pre-match dinner of cabbage and ice cream.

What more can I do?

It’s time to wake the Bullet and head for town.  Come on, Bullet, you lazy teenaged dirtbag.  It’s nearly six o’clock.  Get up!

And so we begin the trudge we have made many, many times before.  The long walk, in hope, expectation, and a faint whiff of brandy.  We have met, and made peace, with the visiting supporters.  We have shared a bonding pint, and a song or even two, but now it’s time for us to divide, separate and go our own ways, if not in body, then at least in spirit.

Oh Jesus, here we go again.  The nerves won’t take it.

I’ll let you know later who won.



Munster 12 – Northampton 9

You’d have to wonder about people who follow any sport.  It isn’t entertainment and it isn’t fun, at least not when a game goes the way that one did.  Down to the wire.  Last-minute possession rugby to retain a slender lead.  A grim battle, fought largely between the two sets of forwards.  Hard, grinding struggle, decided by penalties, and by the unnerving, silent respect  of Thomond Park for the kicker.

The crowd are insane.  If there was a lens capable of focussing venom, the referee would been dissolved in a pool of French terror long ago.  The crowd have gone completely crazy, and when Paulie is binned, the crowd step into the breach, supplying the extra man for ten long, dug-in, back-to-the-wall minutes.

Paulie, trapped on the sideline, is like a madman.

I’m like a madman.  My son is like a madman.  The old guy next to him is like a madman.

A man of my age should not have to put up with that sort of anxiety, and the elements signal agreement by gliding a mist, a Carpenterian fog, over the stadium.  It moves.  We watch it flow over the wall and onto the pitch.  It lives.  You half expect a pack of howling werewolves to leap from the vapour but you know this insane crowd would rise up and tear those rash  lycanthropes to twitching shreds.

What does all this mean?  I don’t know, but it seems Northampton might be back in Limerick for the quarter final, having secured a losing bonus point to qualify as leading runners up.  It depends what happens in Pool 3 today.

So we face yet another nerve-tearing, blood-pounding, eye-popping, spit-flecked screamfest, but hey.  Isn’t that why we follow it?

15 thoughts on “Off to Thomond Park

  1. If Munster win then they’ll also guarantee Leinster a place in the last eight…….fancy that?

  2. Good old fashioned arm wrestle. I thought Ronan O’Gara was outstanding. His kicking was excellent from hand and took the ball into contact several times to keep the “Saints” honest, whilst retaining and recycling the ball. Add to that a brilliant goal kicking display, he must have iced water flowing in his veins. Compare ROG’s performance to that of the much vaunted Geraghty, scuttered goal kick, aimless punting and re-starts straight to touch. I was surprised he wasn’t called ashore earlier. Another big name bites the dust at Thomond, Remember Henry Paul? On this display ROG re-asserts his class. Mist

  3. What is it about that ref we could have beaten the ALL BLACKS if he had refed that match properly too PRICK

  4. O the nerves and the near heart stopping angst and real terror… isn’t it great!
    Soothing to hear that your teenager is as “normal” as my own, Bock, not good for the nerves either though!
    Good man Paul O’ Connell in the post match interview – “dictatorial” style of the ref not pleasing.

  5. Ref was in a another world. It will be London Irish or Leinster – depending on the outcome of today’s game, whoever finished second – at Thomond Park in the last eight.

  6. With some of the Pool games impacting on others in terms of qualification then why weren’t all the Pool Games played at the same time? Northampton collecting a bonus point last night for instance means that four teams have noting except pride to play for today.

    Sky Sports dictating again, a ridiculous situation.

  7. Leinster are leading at half time. Below is a “live” update from the RTE site.

    40 mins: Half-time. First 40 minutes was all Irish, but Leinster lead at half-time as Irish just couldn’t get through a defensive wall of Blue Magic! Back for the second half shortly.

    “Blue Magic”….A national site and the dreaded objectivity.

  8. Heard someone shouting “remember you’re Irish Geraghty”when he was lining up a kick,he proceeded to miss it.Let’s hope he makes just as much of a bollix of it the next time out,and for the love of fuck let’s hope we never see that bastard Poite again.

  9. Couldn’t agree more Bock but it was early on in the kicking process and quite funny,not as funny as some of the refereeing decisions.

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