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Irish mayor pleads with rugby fans to come home

Kevin Anderson | 14:12 UK time, Friday, 21 April 2006

The Irish city of Limerick could go from being a city to a town overnight, and in the process lose millions of Euros of EU support. Why? It's down to a mass exodus of rugby fans this weekend, possibly as many 20,000 supporters of the Munster rugby club will travel to Dublin.

Mayor Diarmuid Scully fears that if the fans don't come back in time for once every four year census and the count puts the city below the 50,000 mark, it could cost the city dearly. We're hoping to have the mayor on the programme to plead with fans to come home Sunday night to be counted. Are you a Munster fan?

Paul Kelly who writes the blog Scrumbag is going to join us. He's a Munster fan who lives in Leicester and gave this Munster-eye view of the coming match up:

For Munster fans, Leinster are the big rivals, the team we want to beat more than anyone ... Visit the many online forums dedicated to Irish rugby and you will see little evidence of the "sure aren't we all Irish anyhow" attitude that is commonly associated with Irish sports fans.

We're also going to be joined by the chairman of the Munster Rugby Supporters Club, John Rochford said that while most the talk amongst fans was about the game:

People do feel a responsibility about completing the census. I think its a bit silly though if a game which draws people from a city for an overnight stay, on the evening of the census impacts the city's population. We are at all times encouraging people to behave responsibly, and with many people drinking etc at the game, and with the poor public transport facilities, people are doing the responsible thing staying overnight.

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