He is about to clock up his 123rd Heineken Cup match and his voice is synonymous with rugby yet he is not a player. Michael Corcoran of RTE Radio Sport picks ten of his favourite memories from his 122 games to date.
Michael Corcoran’s Ten Heineken Cup Memories as chosen for ercrugby.com:
1. Earliest one is attending the 1999 final when Ulster beat Colomiers at Landsdowne Road, it left a lasting impression, not the game but the overwhelming support for Ulster. Earlier that day I broadcast on RTE Radio Cork the Students European Rugby Championship (SERC) final between UCC and University of Bayonne, UCC won and had Peter Stringer and Mick O’Driscoll in their team.
2. Stade Delmas, Bordeaux 2000, the day Munster took on Toulouse and beat them 31-25 in the semi-final. Mick Galwey took the Munster players down to the end containing the noisiest Toulouse supporters to warm-up, having conquered that they scored one of the competition’s greatest ever tries on the way to victory.
3. Le Stadium, Toulouse 2006, Leinster produced one of the greatest ever performances by any side to beat Toulouse at their own game in their own backyard, great Denis Hickie try.
4. Landsdowne Road 2006, the tension and build-up to the game was incredible, it was billed as the cappucino kids against the country folk, Ronan O’Gara and Trevor Halstead had something to say about that. Both sets of supporters were allocated 22,500 tickets to the game.
5. Cardiff 2006, having lost twice previously this was destiny day, never before have I experienced such an atmosphere, the drama of the game lived up to the billing, the roof was closed, the noise was incredible.
6. Thomond Park, Limerick, experience it before you leave this earth, especially on Heineken Cup day when the home side have no chance…Gloucester, Sale and Wasps, need I say any more…
7. Landsdowne Road, May 2003, the day Trevor Brennan got his Heineken Cup medal, thoroughly deserved and not bad for a guy who apparently could not play 80 minutes of Heineken Cup rugby
8. Murrayfield May 2005, the day Guy Noves was frog-marched away by the humourless security personnel at the 10th final, I was standing next to him when he was hauled away, I hope ERC have had a chat with the heavies at Murrayfield ahead of the 2009 final
9. RDS, November 2007, the Leinster pack finally came of age and did a big number on Leicester, the start of the Leinster revolution, it has grown stronger over the season and let’s hope it continues throughout the 2008/09 season and beyond.
10. Travelling away supporters, particularly those from Munster, your imagination and intimate knowledge of Europe is second to none, you continue to travel despite Sunday kick-offs, knock-out games played in well hidden venues and you still support your team, and then you are told that Munster support is waning and not much interest in supporting your team. Over 18,000 at the Ricoh Arena cant be wrong, 4-5,000 at Kingsholm cant be wrong either, I’m sure ‘only’ 40,000+ at the Millennium Stadium will be seen by some as losing interest also.
RTE Radio 1 will broadcast Saturday’s Heineken Cup final live and it will be streamed on www.ercrugby.com.