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Match Reaction: Munster

Match Reaction: Munster

Click here for quotes from Declan Kidney and the Munster players after Saturday’s thrilling Heineken Cup final triumph.

…The victorious Munster team, replacements and management pose with the Heineken Cup trophy…

Man of the match Peter Stringer: “We’ve waited so long for this – you couldn’t ask for more than the lads gave out there. From 1 to 22, the guys have given 100%.

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“I am just thrilled for the fans. This is for them as well as us. It seems the whole of Munster are here. They’ve been with us so much over the years and have travelled with us everywhere. It has been a long time, we have worked hard and are delighted with the win.

“My try was totally off the cuff. I had a little look up and, thankfully, their winger (Sireli Bobo) had gone in-field. I saw the gap and just went for it.”

Munster captain Anthony Foley: “I’ve been in a ground twice when the opposition’s captain has lifted the trophy and to be the one to go up there and pick up the silverware is a great feeling.

“I felt we deserved it over the year. At Munster we’ve always said we want to win trophies and big competitions. As a player there is nothing that will ever surpass your first international cap.

“That is the ultimate. But what we achieved today is magnificent. It’s a journey which is not over yet – it’s just another station on the way.

“We can kick on from here and if we do, we can compete for this trophy for a number of years to come.”

Munster coach Declan Kidney: “I think you try to put your emotions in a box for the match because that’s what the job was, and just concentrate on staying with it. It was hard at one stage when it flashed on the big screen to O’Connell Street (in Limerick). That was a bit special. You just had to make sure you got back into the moment.

“The goodwill poured into the team has been huge. This year we’ve managed to give something back to those people who’ve sacrificed salaries and taken out loans to come and watch us play matches over the years. This is a pay-back to them.

“There are no words (to describe it). I think Ronan (O’Gara) said after the semi-final that unless you were in our dressing room you didn’t know what it meant to us. They (the players) beat Leinster who were going well in the Celtic League, they beat Sale who were going well in the Premiership, and they’ve beaten the best team in the French League. In the second half we went a bit dull and probably didn’t attack them as much.

“We wanted to play good rugby today, but I guess at the end of a day like today it’s all about the result. We had a sweaty end there, but that’s always the way with Munster. You never do things the easy way.”

“I was delighted for Peter (Stringer). He’s been maligned in some quarters and I’m not sure why. When you look at his record – he has two Triple Crowns and a European Cup and played in so many finals.

“It’s very hard to do that unless you’re a world class half-back. Nothing he did today surprised me. It was just another average day at the office really.”

…Paul O’Connell celebrates at the Millennium Stadium…

Munster lock Paul O’Connell: “The way the fixtures panned out for us in the last few weeks and the injuries we’ve had, I don’t think we had the match fitness in the pack that we normally have to play such a high-intensity game.

“We played in the first half and we didn’t do it in the second half. But we held on through a lot of experience – great guys coming off the bench – and the phenomenal support.

“I was struggling a small bit with the ankle. I spent four weeks off my feet and I wasn’t as match fit as I’d like to have been but it’s easy to come off when you’ve a panel of players like this.”

Munster out-half Ronan O’Gara: “We kept our composure. It was 7-3 (to us) and I know hindsight is a great thing but myself and Axel (Anthony Foley) made a great call to go for the corner. We needed to make a statement. We’ve learnt that you need tries to win finals.

“If we’d kept tapping penalties away it would have been 7-6, then 9-7 – that wasn’t what we needed. The boys tore into them and Trevor’s try was a great result for all the hard work.”

“I don’t think we took our foot off the pedal but for 20 minutes in the second half, Biarritz did dictate it. They’d a purple patch as you’d expect from a team of their quality. But we finished well. We had to get out of the three-point range. There’s a big difference between one and four points. With four points you can retreat and make sure they don’t cross your line. I think we took the game into our own terms and that’s exactly what you’ve got to do.”