Following Munster’s dynamic performance and emphatic victory over Castres, one statement that defines what this side is all about came from George Hook, RTE’s panelist.
Munster, what an extraordinary team” he said somewhat quizically “No other team can defy convention like this side, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Perhaps these sentiments do not describe the feelings of all Munster supporters, but one cannot deny the undeniable fact that this Munster team have a special magic, and not only are they magical performers in the most toughest and physical conditions, but they are a team that is deserving of such a result. Overcoming all the odds, playing in a venue far from home, and in weather conditions which would not be considered optimum for the Munster side, one must wonder how much more this team can take before the pressure will take its toll.
Mick Galwey, Man of the Match, summed up today’s result as fantastic. Italians may use the word Bellisimo’, but Galwey’s performance, coupled with the performance of the entire team, can only be described as the stuff that legends are made of. Galwey conceded that the consistency of the squad over the last three years, and their resolve in not letting the disappointments of the last few years results in this competition, effect their resolve in winning this time around, makes them indeed most deserving of today’s victory.
Both captain Mick Galwey, and teammate Rob Henderson cited the loss of Axl as a downer for the team. However the superb performance by replacement Donnacha O’Callaghan will not be dismissed. The future of Munster Rugby looks promising with the rise of such eminent performers like O’Callaghan, and O’Connell.
Galwey felt that the first half was a scrappy affair. He did admit that once the game settled down, Munster relaxed and the intensity of this contest was placed in the background. He mentioned his awe, once again, of the unbelievable support, the effervescent sea of red, which dominated the stadium at Beziers, and hopes that their presence will be just as strong at the final in Cardiff. It is sure to be a great occasion, and we are definitely looking forward to.
Coach Declan Kidney’s expression makes more of a statement than the words he uttered in his interview. Smiling like a school kid, delighted with the outcome and looking forward to the final, Declan Kidney expressed his sheer delight with working with such a resilient bunch of guys. The team today did itself justice today, and I can only say now that I am going to enjoy tonight’s celebrations and think about preparation for the final on Monday. One gets the feeling, that when Declan Kidney sits down tonight and has a pint or six in celebrating the outcome of today’s match, the last thing he will not be doing is not thinking about the final. Kidney, ever the strategist, may be a man of few words to the press, but he is a man of many thoughts. For now though, I suggest we let him enjoy the post match party. He deserves it, likewise Nialll O’Donovan, and the rest of the Munster back-up team. Congratulations all round!
The Final of the Heineken European Rugby Cup, takes place at the Mileniumn Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales, on May 25. Munster will face the victors of the other semi-final, Leicester or Llanelli. This match is scheduled to take place on April 27th. This match is sure to be watched with must interest, if not bated breath in the Munster camp. Bring on the showdown.