In the press conference that followed the match, Munster coach Declan Kidney gave us some insights into his feelings after the game, after defeat.
Declan Kidney remains to be one of the most shrewd men that I have ever met, and will ever have the pleasure of knowing. In the wake of such heartbreaking and disapointing defeat, Declan remains ever positive to the public eye, even if his own heart is breaking.
At the end of his illustrious career with Munster, Kidney departs with Niall ODonovan to the green fields that are Irish international rugby, and it is clear that victory in todays match would have ensured this deparutre would be on the highest of high notes.
Yet life sometimes has a habit of throwing a spanner in the works and can destroy all dreams. And that is what happened today.
Graceful in defeat, Kidney conceded that his dream did not evolve as planned, yet stated that he will still “depart on a high note”, even if its not as high as he would have like.
Seated beside Declan Kidney, was the bruised and tried Mick Galwey. “Heartbreaking. Disappointing. Just wasnt meant to be.” These words sum up the Gallimhs feelings of todays result, but despite such despair, Galwey reminded all present that “Munster will win this final some day. We may not be around for it but Munster will win. We’ve come so far in this journey that is is inevitable that Munster will win.”
Speaking in low tones about the defeat at the hands of Leicester today, Galwey admitted that he “didnt feel robbed”, but added that to lose twice, “words just cannot describe that feeling”. He also conceded that is takes “a special team to win the European Cup” and commended the confidence that Leicester displayed on the playing field.
Referring to the future of Munster Rugby, given that it is the end of an era, with the departure of Declan Kidney, Peter Clohessy and Niall ODonovan, and the retirement of Mick Galwey as captain, both men acknowledged the developments amongst the younger players in the team. Singling out Donnacha O’Callaghan, and Marcus Horan, Declan expressed how these players having come as far as they did today, and “will be itching to win in in the future.” And you can be sure that this will happen. Despite todays defeat these players will be looking to the future and thinking about the next time they make it to the European Cup Finals.
This is what makes Munster rugby as an institution most endearing. In times of defeat they look to the positives, and the future. The challenge has been set. Third time lucky. Europe better watch out. European Rugby hath experienced no challenge like a defeated yet resolute Munster team. Munster will be back, dont doubt that for a second, or a millisecond.