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Munster v Edinburgh 19:35 5th Sept - the Foley era begins

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  • Munster v Edinburgh 19:35 5th Sept - the Foley era begins

    Well – another era begins. New management and coaching staff, new European competition and now clear distance in the rear view mirror, thankfully, of former glory days. Munster are a Pro12 top 4 prospect. Nothing more really. For once, we enter a season with realistic expectations. That’s good, really.

    I haven’t posted here since last season’s Pro12 semi-final. It was such a disappointing end on so many levels: the Penney era didn’t work, we were now definitely back in the pack, Leinster definitely ahead of the rest, and 3rd/4th was about where we deserved to be. To me, the Toulouse win, the Toulon performance and the Glasgow defeat summarised our season in different ways: brilliant in the HEC defending our Thomond Park honour, gallant but limited at the highest level on foreign fields and just not committed at all to the Pro12.

    I welcome the Foley era for all the right reasons, and without cynicism. Munster have chosen the best option in my view: a great thinker about the game, utterly committed to the Munster cause, a critical understanding of the things that are important to the Munster game, huge respect from all the players and staff, and a fairly decent record so far as a coach. To me, he is the single most important reason for optimism.

    It will be a difficult season. Leinster are threatening a long-term dominance of the domestic game; the disappearance of the HEC branded tournament is a loss to Munster’s view of our place in the game; the Pro12 is a weakened competition with Italian and Welsh sides still going through some turmoil, and, most importantly, Munster as a squad lack players of real quality in certain positions.

    My hopes for this season? Finish the season with a developing squad with settled strength in the front row, 10, 12, 13 and full back, with serious back-up to Murray sorted out. I think Foley has to decide quickly how he is going to manage the Keatley/Hanrahan selection and find a centre selection that works defensively and in attack better than Downey/Laulala did. He needs to get and keep bothEarls (becoming the forgotten man) and O’Mahony fit. And, most importantly, he has got to find a way for Munster to play well in the post O’Connell era from 2015.

    Being the eternal optimist (a Limerick hurling supporter, and all that), I remain committed big-time to following Munster this season. With my young wife now a committed MRSC member (finally), my season ticket safely received, my work life sorted somewhat to allow me to get to more matches, with Thomond Park awaiting – what isn’t there to look forward to?

    Munster v Edinburgh? Home win.
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