Munster Epitaph

A great team owes us nothing

Munster’s still warm carcass lies on a mortuary slab in Northern Spain. Outside in the reception area, Mourner-in-Chief Sophie, stands reverentially and alongside Seán the accountant (played with Old Crescent – Sophie played with Seán), both grief stricken.

“Sorry for your trouble Sophie”, whose recently straightened hair and fake tan are holding up well considering her loss.  She shifts her weight uncomfortably from one leg to another and wished she’d worn her Uggs instead of these tight, knee high boots.

“The lineout Michael, the lineout broke down and we just couldn’t establish any sustained, quality, go-forward ball.  Tommy O’Leary got man and ball all day and ROG was under constant pressure in the pocket“

“Jeez Seán, what the hell happened?” from the next sympathizer, a tearful Oisín – a solicitor.

From a hopeful situation, such early promise and with the real chance of a great weekend in Paris later this month avec Les Folies Bergère.

Mais, le Beaujolais nouveau n’est pas arrivé cette année, Sean.”

“Thanks, thanks, try not to make this more difficult than it already is Oisín. Sometimes the X-factor isn’t enough.  George told us this might happen.”

Hysterical Mary, mascara running left, right and centre like Mafi didn’t, was wailing in a back room.

“Our defensive strategy broke down and McGahan didn’t see the holes appearing early enough.”

“Stop jumping up and down Mary, the match is over “said Áine,

“You’ll mess up your outfit and have to change again before we go out this evening in Biarritz”

The ragin Bull Hayes rages no more and the next man who picks him to start in red or green has no humanity or respect. If he must play, play him as an impact sub in the fourth quarter when the others are getting tired and he can match them for strength and energy. This man owes nothing.

We watched events unfold, car-crash like and less in indignation now then we had been five years ago, in a pub –  no one had caved for a pig in poke deal with Rupert Murdoch. There were hundreds there, too many really and like in the old days, space was at a premium but unlike back then people were less friendly, less together. Three men in red shirts jammed together and allowed no one to get a drink and shouted at anyone who stood in front of them, their petulance and arrogance as powerful as another surge from the broken nosed Imanol Harinordoquy, who looked like one of those beaky guys from a Pink Floyd video.

I went around the corner and called a pint only to be told by a girl and her mom that “there was a match on”

The 1st time I noticed Denis Hurley was when he was being subbed by Scott Deasy. I’d forgotten he was on the pitch and in a way that defined the match, Biarritz saw that Munster’s weakest link was their ageing set of forwards and this is where they attacked, time and time again. Experience counts for nothing in the face of a gang of twenty somethings coming into their own on a Sunday afternoon.

The bookies had us @ 11:10 on, and there are no bare foot bookies in Limerick today.

I met a couple of older fellas this afternoon in the Duck, and eventually someone woke up and mentioned the match. They owe us nothing – ten good years – two European cups and great fun.

It is time to write the epitaph on this great team and it should be coloured red, vivid and energised with the verve and excitement which they carried with them.

From that annihilation in Toulouse maybe a decade back when the legends were only starting out, to an early summer’s day in Spain, when most travelled in expectation and the bookies crossed their fingers, it’s been some journey.

Mary gathered herself and thought about the nice meal and glass of wine. She looked over the Mass cards – so lonely around the fields of anthenry. Sophie hitched up her slightly too tight jeans and exhaled for the last time “Irish by birth, Munster by the grace of God” and turned to her partner crying,

Seán, Seán, but what about the Chardonnay?

9 thoughts on “Munster Epitaph

  1. Well said, Sniffle.
    Munster never failed us and they always gave their all. And for me that was what made them special.
    Maybe a few of the bandwagoners may jump off now.
    And maybe now my mother and father (Shannon and young Munster people all their lives, respectively.T’was a divided house at times!) won’t find it so hard to get a ticket……
    Thank you to the Munster players who retire this season and to the others for giving us so much.

  2. Well put Sniffles.
    We’ve had a good innings. Still managing to do well considering our small population.
    We can now sit back and enjoy watching the french teams slug it out in Paris.

  3. Well Said.
    I as a Munster supporter am disappointed but to blame the team. To loose faith in Munster is ridiculous.
    We were once the Best team in Europe and we are an ageing team now but we have the potential to be the Best again with a little faith and encouragement. The team do not need to be knocked down by its ‘supporters’. When times are hard do we really ‘look the other way’ rather than ‘Stand up and fight’. We’ve been at the top, we couldn’t stay there forever and I will say I loved every minute of the climb there and its hard falling but i’ll wait for the jouney, the adventure, the tears and sleepless nights, the butterflies in my belly, the anticipation, the drink, the many friends I will meet and the laughs on the journey back up.
    I always looked at other teams and wondered why they envied us, why they were so bitter while we were victorious. I can taste bitterness now but a game of Rugby is not about that, hats off to to the Final two and to leinster ad shame on the ‘supporters’ who accept no blame but want to ‘brag’ when they win and ‘whine’ when they loose. Shame they feel they should be owed something. As a supporter you should realise you did get something, something no one owes you! You got the enjoyment of seeing a team you loved play with spirit and courage and win, loose or draw I’ll pat them on the shoulder for giving me that!
    C’Mon Munster!!

  4. No chance, this has been said many times before, 2002, 2004, 2005. Other players will replace our declining stars and the process will begin again.

  5. Peter O’Mahoney, Grace, Dave Ryan, Butler, Deasy, Ian Nagle, Zebo , Brian O’Hara, etc Plenty of the guys I have mentioned will make the step up to HEC rugby. POM will be a superstar.

  6. The most appaling thing about the two defeats at the weekend is that George Hook will be right. He predicted that a spawn of Frog would win it. I suppose he was going to be right someone – the stopped clocked syndrome. Munster would want to keep an eye on the money. Jean de Villiers was being – reportedly – paid €350,000 a year. I wouldn’t exactly go as far as to call him Bok the robber, but he hardly set the world alight this season.

    Great piece Mr Sniffle.

  7. @ David – sing it brother – Saw Paddy Butler a couple of times this year with Shannon – class act and Gracie too. I’m with you for the new generation and hope they can be inspired.

    @Pelotudo – A house divided indeed – how is that you’re not conflicted, But… but…. Young Munster, surely the team of the year. Saw them twice beat Shannon easily and Mike Prendergast seems to have worked out brilliantly. I told my Cookie pals that the bed was just too big without them – might regret it yet ?

    @Builderfromhell – That’s it man – we have a tiny playing population and have been punching way above our weight for the past decade – happy days.

    @ Bock – you’re correct. This team is precious.

    @ Magic – I see where you’re coming from there and your heart is in definitely in the right place.

    @ Joe Duffy – the fad bit –yeah – now back to that woman from clontarf ?

    @ Mr. Out – “stopped clocked syndrome” – excellent – the pompous fucker was eventually right. Folks, Wise words now from young Mr. Out – watch closely what happens the money.

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