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Munster - An Elite European Team

Munster
by Mat (U9246519) 26 May 2008
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A while back I made some foolish comments along the lines of Munster not being one of the truly great teams in Europe. I then promised that if Munster managed to win the Heineken Cup again I would have to eat my words and write an article explaining why they are so good. I was supposed to have written this article already but I am nursing a bit of a hangover after the weekend. A fellow poster on these message boards (Munsterbythegraceofgod) has since reminded me of my stupid remarks and asked for me to keep my word. It is only fair that I retract my previous comments which may have been the result of:

1 Being argumentative for the sake of it
2 Delusions of being real knowledgable about rugby
3 A lucid imagination
4 Alcohol intoxication
5 Temporary Insanity

Munster are an Elite European team in every sense. From the increadible spirit, competitiveness and desire to win shown by their often heroic players to the amazing passionate support of their many fans. I guess the main criteria for being an elite team would be:

1 Excellent players: the likes of Ronan O'Gara, Doug Howlett and Paul O'Connell are undoubtably world class performers. Not only in terms of the skill levels shown but the natural spirit, fight and determination to win which they possess. The rest of Munster's players are also quality. Players like Quinlan and O'Callaghan are often unsung heroes who give everything for their team. Also the new players who come into the side step up and make sure that they play with a passion and skill level which honours the famous red shirt. The likes of Dowling, Tipoki and Mafi have been excellent this year. Success breeds success and when you have an organised winning environment you know that the new players blooded into the side will be ready and will generally excell. Buckley should be the next player to do this. Even players like Warwick and Mick O'Driscoll are quality and will always do a good job for their team.

2 A great coach: Declan Kidney is obviously a winner and has certainly got the best out of his team over the years. Munster's record in the Heineken Cup is almost unparralled. They have also got over the earlier dissappointment of losing finals and have come back stronger. He will be hard to replace but should make the Irish national team more of a force if he can bring greater unity.

3 Fantastic support: the atmosphere in Cardiff on the weekend was brilliant. The stadium was a sea of red and the singing was non-stop. There were Munster fans everywhere and everyone had a red shirt on. It was like an international game in Cardiff. It was crazy. I wondered to myself whether there were more Munster fans than fans of the respective four Welsh regional teams combined. The fans I met were also great, very nice people having a great time and a credit to their country.

4 Trophies: Every great team in whatever sport has to have won trophies. Munster have become champions of Europe twice now winning against some quality opposition. They deserve their success and are worthy champions. You cannot argue that the Heineken Cup is easy to win. Their record in the competition is exceptional.

5 Great stadium: They will have a great modern stadium in the near future and it should be even more raucous and a difficult place to win at for opposition teams.


I could write even more reasons why Munster are an elite team but I am too tired. Consider the humble pie or my hat or whatever duly eaten and this article an apology for my foolish comments! Well done to Munster the worthy kings of Europe and I am glad they won because it clearly means so much to some brilliant fans.

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posted May 28, 2008

To be fair Aodh I think your making pretty big generalisations about Dublin and relying on some old stereotypes. True people on the Northside would be more likely to play Gaelic or football and rugby's more of a tradition on the Southside but this "class divide" stuff is ridiculous! A lot of lads i know who are really into rugby are from working-class northside background and some of the best hurlers i know are from the southside ! I know you said its not black and white but its not nearly as divisive as you portray it.

I mean rugby in Munster was quite upper class and a real 'old boys' scene until the 90s. Even looking at the schools rugby there now its pretty posh and full of the sheepskin coat brigade ! Clearly the support for the respective provinces is where the difference is rather than the playing demographic ?

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posted May 28, 2008

you are basically repeating what i said. i know i generalised, and there are complete exceptions to it. cork is similar to dublin as far as schools go, but GAA schools that may have at one stage been called working class are the wealthiest people in the country. in dublin there is a clear divide as well, mick galway the former kerry footballer was playing in the 90's is not what u would describe a private school old boys. Limerick is different, everyone plays rugby there is no class divide there.

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comment by DOD (U9897234)

posted May 28, 2008

Aodh..form Cork city myself and would agree with you in general but going back to the 70ís and early 80ís maybe. Didnt go to one of the rugby schools but took it up and played Hurling as well. Dont know about Limerick but now there are a lot more people involved in all codes which is good. Having said at a school level would disagree as well in Limerick. Cant see St Munchins and Limerick CBS being great friends now.

In addition clubs like Sundays Well and Dolphin in Cork would have a more grounded nature about them. Similar to the Shannon, Young Munster versus Garryowen approach. Overall donít think you can generalise there was definitely a sheepskin type involved in Limerick as well.

I would say that now for kids especially playing Rugby, Hurling etc there is no divide and this is a good thing. People go to Hurling and Rugby matches (or even GAA) and the odd time if I get the chance I go down Turners Cross to watch city.

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posted May 28, 2008

Deaglan O Duain
what i said was very general, i agree things are changing quickly, there are rugby clubs popping up in rural areas all over munster, i think the future is strong, there will be some big players coming through in about 10 yrs.

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posted May 28, 2008

Sorry Aodh Im was a bit over the top and you did in fact mean to generalise. Yet as someone who lives on the northside from a strong Gaelic and soccer background I do find your perspective on Dublin a bit askew to say the least.

However to an outsider I can completely understand why people have these views of Dublin and the so called class divide. Lets not forget that BOD was a good prospect for Clontarf and has some mates on the Vncents team who won the club championship this year !

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posted May 28, 2008

"The thing that makes Munster so great is the ability to play the kind of negative rugby that everyone in the game wants away with"


How ironic that statements like this are only starting to be made now that Munster have won the Heineken Cup a second time. Munster defend for 10 minutes and suddenly they are all that is wrong with rugby? I don't know how you can say a team with a record NZ try scorer, future regular Irish winger in the making in Ian Dowling, and the Heineken Cup record points scorer in O'Gara among the backs are boring I'll never know. Munster did what needed to be done to win the Heineken Cup. I'm sure Toulouse would have no problem being criticised for holding on to the ball in the last 10 minutes if it meant they won the final. Just sounds like sour grapes to me.


Munster ABU!!!

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posted May 28, 2008

Sorry Thirdcentre I have to have aul little go here - BOD is indeed from Clontarf but he is no more like a Northsider than Hugh Heffner is gay

BOD and Dorce drink Heino in Koooiielys

Hahaha Apologies ThirdCentre I couldnt resist

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posted May 28, 2008

Good for you BlueMuff good for you

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posted May 28, 2008

Ah now dont be like that!!!!

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posted Sep 8, 2008

As I said on the day "Munster may have won the European Cup today but Rugby lost."

Dull forward play and rolling mauls. Hardly a "Great Rugby playing team"

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