There are moments in sport that will live forever. As a small country we don’t get too many of them, so they are so much more important. Ronnie Delany’s gold medal in the 1956 Olympics. The 1978 defeat of the All Blacks. Sonia O’Sullivan. Ray Houghton, whether against England or Italy. Paul McGrath‘s almost one-man defence in that Italy match. Course there also some that live forever for all the wrong reasons. Sonia O’Sullivan. Roy Keane.
But today can go down for all the right reasons. Because Munster won. 23-19
The match started out with disaster as Biarritz scored a try within the first three minutes. And yes, replays showed that Bobo had a foot in touch, not once but twice. And maybe if we lost I’d be complaining. But we won, so I can say that, sure these things happen in rugby matches.
Munster have been on the hunt for this cup for many years now. Captain Anthony Foley has played in 76 of Munster’s 77 European Cup matches for Munster and others in this team have been waiting 10 years to lift this trophy. So they weren’t about to drop the heads. Three minutes gone means you still have 77 left in which to make your comeback.
And they did. Fantastic placekicking from Ronan O’Gara, and two great tries. One from South African Trevor Halstead and the other a great piece of work from Stringer. Who’s saying he shouldn’t be on the team now?
Overall it was a fantastic match. Full of tension, and with estimates of up to 70,000 Munster fans in the Millenium Stadium there was plenty of atmosphere. The big screen in the stadium also flashed up an image of the supporters back home in Limerick watching on Europe’s largest YV screen, a fact which at least some of the players mentioned in their post-match interviews.
This game had it all. Skill, passion, tries, points, tension, atmosphere. Man getting hit in groin by head, poor Jerry Flannery. Everything. A great day. And an even better result.