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    Newspaper buildup to Leinster game



    Intensity with a smile from best of enemies


    IT'S likely that by simply turning on the floodlights in Thomond Park on Wednesday you'd be able to draw a decent crowd, such will be the pitch of cabin fever by then.


    What is it about Christmas? We buy provisions on the 24th like the shops will be closed for a year. And then wade in when they reopen after a couple of days. We pass closed pubs looking anxiously for signs of when they will be back in business. For most it's all of 24 hours. And in this wasteland, devoid of services, sport moves centre stage like a saviour. Never mind who's playing, just get in there!


    Well, as a bonus, the good folk of Limerick will have in their backyard, for the first time since 1995, a meeting of Munster and Leinster in Thomond Park. And there has never been a better time to have them. Both are riding high in their Heineken Cup pools, and between them they have developed a pattern where the bulk of the Ireland team splits into two camps and knocks seven bells out of each other for 80 minutes. Whereupon they fall into each other's arms and declare undying friendship and mutual respect.


    It's remarkable that a week of banter and crack can morph into naked hostility


    The prelude to this particular engagement has added intrigue. For the past week the combatants have been cosying up to each other on Ireland's not so warm training spin near Faro in Portugal. It's remarkable that a week of banter and crack can morph into naked hostility for the duration of the show, and then revert to happy families.


    There are issues to be sorted though on Wednesday. They comprise the Magners League points, and with Munster trailing Connacht by a point - albeit with a game in hand - this would be a good time for them to change that ahead of going to the Sportsground on New Year's Eve; and then there is the fate of a handful of key performers.


    The inclusion of Felipe Contepomi in the Leinster squad was a tonic for their supporters who are gagging to have him back. Chances are that they'll have to wait until the Last Stand next week, as it has been labelled, for parachuting the Puma into this fixture - even off the bench - is asking for trouble. It's not that Ulster will pose a less physical threat on Sunday, but seemingly Contepomi needs the extra time to get himself right.


    The sensible thing is to pick Andy Dunne, whose run on and drop goal in Agen were as valuable to his own confidence as his team's tally. He is a goal-kicker and his history of knocking over pressure kicks is good. Most recently he delivered for Old Belvedere in the dying minutes of their Leinster Cup final success last month, and while it wasn't a white-hot situation in front of a packed house, it was a kick that needed delivery. He dropped it over the black spot.


    Leinster are desperate for a goal-kicker. Ahead of the Agen game, their coach Michael Cheika was talking about picking the team first and filling in the goal-kicking duties later. The Barbarians are the only team in the world who select on that basis, and we can only infer that Cheika was taking the Michael.


    Spending Christmas a long way from home has been softened by the novelty of a first visit for the Australian to Limerick's playground. He has been intrigued by the change in mood amongst his players as the date gets closer.


    "It's interesting for me to watch that, to see how they react to those things," he says. "But more importantly I think it's the challenge of players trying to manoeuvre against other players who are direct counterparts in the Irish set-up, and what we're looking forward to is having a really intense vigorous game. </P
    Seas suas agus troid!

    #2


    Munster to hold sway in changed times for 'old firm'


    WHAT a year it's been for Irish rugby. But events on the field of play, already well chronicled elsewhere, should not dominate to the extent of totally excluding some remarkable developments on the terraces and in the stands.


    The single most remarkable development is the appearance of the 'House Full' sign on a regular basis at our grounds, whether it's Lansdowne Road, Ravenhill, the RDS, the Sportsground or Thomond Park.


    Capacity crowds in Limerick and Belfast have been with us for a while now, but when the signs went up at the RDS this time last year for Leinster's game with Munster, it was definitely time to sit up and take notice.


    We then had the never to be forgotten Heineken Cup semi-final between the same sides in the spring, when Lansdowne wasn't big enough to hold the crowd, and next week we have the remarkable situation of four interprovincial Magners League games being almost sold out with accumulated advance ticket sales of approximately 75,000.


    How times have changed.


    Gone are the days of my last hands-on involvement in a Leinster v Munster game when a crowd of 150 attended Dooradoyle in late August. That highly unusual combination of event, date and venue occurred in 1998 as the authorities grappled with the difficulties inherent in what was then the new professional era.


    On Wednesday next a capacity crowd in Thomond Park will witness, for the fourth time in just less than a year, these two arch rivals go head to head, this time for the prize of much needed Magners League points and also the bragging rights that go hand in hand with any derby game in any sport.


    Gone also are the days of training twice a week and travelling to Limerick or Cork by train on a Friday evening. In those days, each province played the other annually and because Munster alternated their home games between Musgrave Park in Cork and Thomond Park in Limerick, it was only once every four years that a Leinster player got a chance to play in either ground.


    Having had an interprovincial baptism of fire at the hands of another championship debutant, Tony Ward, in my first outing for Leinster at Musgrave Park in 1977, one of the most satisfying interprovincial results came in Thomond Park in 1979 when what was later to become the 1985 Triple Crown winning 'Cud and Doyler' roadshow rolled into town and inflicted defeat on Munster at Thomond for the first time since their momentuous All Blacks game 13 months earlier.


    I can still see the late Doyler walking down the platform at Kingsbridge on the Friday evening with a bag of footballs over his shoulder. Curiosity having got the better of me as to why the away team needed to bring balls, Doyler brushed aside my enquiry with a "you'll see", delivered as ever with that mischievous grin and accompanying glint in the eye.


    In the dressing room the following day, five minutes before kick-off, a knock on the door was followed quickly by the broadest of Limerick accents announcing "match ball, lads" and a small hand appeared around the door dropping on the floor, with the heaviest of thuds and not a hint of a bounce, what looked like a misshaped leather Gaelic or soccer ball which had just been rescued from a (losing) overnight struggle against drowning in the River Shannon.


    Mick promptly produced his own bag of top quality footballs with which the game was, for the most part, played and the offending article was later returned, ceremoniously, to the Shannon waters whence it had come.


    I was also part of the next Leinster team to visit Thomond (1983) w
    Seas suas agus troid!

    Comment


      #3


      MUNSTER v LEINSTER: FOUR TO REMEMBER


      OCTOBER 9 2005 Musgrave Park


      Munster 33 Leinster 9


      THIS was where Felipe Contepomi's relationship with Munster became an issue. Leinster were tipping away in reasonable shape, with their Puma king knocking over three penalties for a 9-0 lead before it started to go sour. His fourth fell over in the wind, whereupon a handful of Munster players gave him some verbal hurry-up. "It really frustrated me in the first-half when I had a penalty, the (Munster) players were shouting when I was going to kick," he said at the time. "It's a lack of education or something. It's strange that their coach (Declan Kidney) is actually a teacher. Maybe he could put some of his knowledge into the players as well."





      DECEMBER 31 2005 RDS


      Leinster 35 Munster 23


      LEINSTER didn't have long to wait for an opportunity to atone for the five-try hammering in Musgrave. This time they covered all the bases, succeeding from close-in at Munster's favourite party-piece, and then opening them up out wide. For Contepomi it was vindication on a grand scale. He was brilliant, illustrating to great effect the side of his game that Ronan O'Gara just can't match. There was a fair bit of soul searching and harsh talk in the Munster dressing room afterwards, for they had a trip to Castres a fortnight later in the European Cup, and on this evidence looked like one trick ponies who had just come up lame.





      APRIL 23 2006 Lansdowne Road


      Leinster 6 Munster 30


      RECALL the predictions, the moments when after all the yap about who would win the biggest domestic game in the history of Irish rugby, you had to choose. Virtually everyone with a laptop keyed in the word Munster. And on the next line added that if it was to be Leinster, then it could be a runaway win, like the RDS five months earlier only with a more reflective scoreline. Wrong on both counts. The Reds won the battle for tickets with an ease that suggested battle wasn't the right word, and that Munster were much farther advanced than Leinster in developing a loyal support base. And from the moment Malcolm O'Kelly spilled O'Gara's kick-off, it was pressure rugby of a high order, in which O'Gara was magnificent.





      OCTOBER 6 2006 Lansdowne Road


      Leinster 27 Munster 20


      AN excess of testosterone, on the sideline as well as the pitch, but still a great game and another cracking occasion. After half an hour, when Leinster opened up their opponents with a tremendous set-piece try for Shane Horgan to go 14-3 up, you couldn't see them being beaten. As ever their scrum was a danger zone though, and it coughed up a controversial try just before the break - the afters of which would have consequences with officialdom for Leinster hooker Brian Blaney and coach Michael Cheika. In the end, Cheika's team were full value on another night when the scoreboard didn't tell the story of how good they had been.





      Brendan Fanning
      Seas suas agus troid!

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by LLCOOLJ14





        APRIL 23 2006 Lansdowne Road


        Leinster 6 Munster 30


        RECALL the predictions, the moments when after all the yap about who would win the biggest domestic game in the history of Irish rugby, you had to choose. Virtually everyone with a laptop keyed in the word Munster. And on the next line added that if it was to be Leinster, then it could be a runaway win, like the RDS five months earlier only with a more reflective scoreline. Wrong on both counts. The Reds won the battle for tickets with an ease that suggested battle wasn't the right word, and that Munster were much farther advanced than Leinster in developing a loyal support base. And from the moment Malcolm O'Kelly spilled O'Gara's kick-off, it was pressure rugby of a high order, in which O'Gara was magnificent.











        Brendan Fanning


        Watched this on the way hometo Limerick forXmas...saw it on tv for the first time....not sure it will ever get better than that day, for so many reasons...more of the same this week lads, we owe them for all their booing and soccer chants in LR a few months back....
        Seas suas agus troid!

        Comment


          #5
          Bah, if your players were shouting at Contepomi when he was kicking in Musgrave last year you can't really complain.

          Anyway can't wait for the game, also really looking forward to attending my first game in Thomond. Should be an excellent game, both sides in decent form.

          Comment


            #6




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            Looking forward to the game on Wedensday. . .theres a bus of fans leaving the Brook at 9am. . .with more making their own way down with private cars etc.


            There seems to a fair few of usstaying overnight. . Dolans should be interesting after the game [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]





            Comment


              #7


              Lads, after helping pilfer many of your tickets, I decided to hand a few of them out to Leinster mates...Im 'entertaining'two of them for the game...It will also be their 1st time in Thomand Park...I plan to give them the full Limerickrugby (pub)tour, prob start the day in that great Garryowen bar, Sexton's....Anyway, we shall be easily recognisable, the two lads have agreed to get new Leinster jerseys and leave the tags on them for the day....should be some laugh....


              Seas suas agus troid!

              Comment


                #8
                Driving up from Lauragh in the morning. Can't wait, gotta to go to Cork after the game but hopefully stop for a few in Dolans first

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by LLCOOLJ14


                  Lads, after helping pilfer many of your tickets, I decided to hand a few of them out to Leinster mates...Im 'entertaining'two of them for the game...It will also be their 1st time in Thomand Park...I plan to give them the full Limerickrugby (pub)tour, prob start the day in that great Garryowen bar, Sexton's....Anyway, we shall be easily recognisable, the two lads have agreed to get new Leinster jerseys and leave the tags on them for the day....should be some laugh....




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                  That reminds of the 4 people in front of me in cardiffduring the Finalwith their nice prestine/freshly pressedMunster jerseys (at least they took the tags offat Shannon airport though)[img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]

                  Comment


                    #10


                    Originally posted by LLCOOLJ14
                    [ we owe them for all their booing and soccer chants in LR a few months back....

                    Getting a bit sensitive are we? There was a bit of good natured ribing about "boring boring Munster" but there was nothing malicious. The banter on the terraces was good natured. I tooke the "easy easy" chants from the Munster fans in April with a grain of salt. You should lighten up.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by el diablo


                      Originally posted by LLCOOLJ14
                      [ we owe them for all their booing and soccer chants in LR a few months back....

                      Getting a bit sensitive are we? There was a bit of good natured ribing about "boring boring Munster" but there was nothing malicious. The banter on the terraces was good natured. I tooke the "easy easy" chants from the Munster fans in April with a grain of salt. You should lighten up.


                      Im not sensitive at all...good natured ribbing might occur a few times during a game, not every 5 minutes!!I can never in my life recall fans starting a chant at a rugby game to belittle the opposition, its a soccer thing, and a tradition I never would like to see in rugby.


                      And what about the booing?Where did that come from?How is it warranted?Why not put the effort into supporting their own team?!?!?
                      Seas suas agus troid!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        <div ="mxb">
                        <div ="sh">
                        Munster v Leinster (Wed)
                        </div>
                        </div>












                        <!- S BO ->
                        <!- S IIMA ->

                        <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="203">
                        <t><tr><td>
                        <div>

                        <div ="cap">Felipe Contepomi was sidelined because of a knee injury</div>
                        </div>
                        </td></tr>
                        </t></table>




                        <!- E IIMA ->
                        Thomond Park
                        Wednesday, 27 December
                        Kick-off: 1500 GMT</font>

                        <!- S SF ->
                        Fly-half Felipe Contepomi is back in the Leinster panel after being out for a month with a knee injury.
                        </font>


                        But coach Michael Cheika may not risk starting with the
                        Argentine star in Wednesday's potentially bruising Magners League clash
                        with Munster.
                        </font>


                        Instead, Andy Dunne could well continue at number 10 with Contepomi more likely to return against Ulster on Sunday.
                        </font>


                        Declan Kidney has named a 26-strong squad as Munster aim to improve on their ninth place in the table.
                        <!- E SF ->
                        </font>


                        Munster squad - backs: P Stringer, T O'Leary, R O'Gara, J Manning, L Mafi, T Halstead, B Murphy, J Kelly, I Dowling, C Cullen, S Payne.
                        Forwards: J
                        Hayes, F Pucciariello, D Hurley, T Buckley, A Kyriacou, F Sheahan, D
                        O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, C Wyatt, D Ryan, D Wallace, D Leamy, J
                        O'Sullivan, J Coughlan, T McGann.

                        </font>


                        Leinster squad - backs: C Whitaker, G Easterby, A
                        Dunne, F Contepomi, C Warner, J Sexton, D Hickie, R Kearney, G D'Arcy,
                        B O'Driscoll, K Lewis, S Horgan, L Fitzgerald, G Dempsey.
                        Forwards: R
                        McCormack, R Corrigan, B Blaney, H Vermaas, B Jackman, S Wright, T
                        Hogan, M O'Kelly, O Finegan, C Jowitt, S Keogh, K Gleeson, J Heaslip.
                        </font>







                        This is all the bbc have so far
                        </font>

                        Comment


                          #13




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                          Dont think the Doc will be back on Wedesnday, to be honest would rather give him a bit more time. . . its more likley he'll get a start on NYE.


                          We wont the full lineup until 2.59pm [img]smileys/wink.gif[/img]





                          Comment


                            #14
                            I doubt he'll start, he may well be on the bench though, you never know

                            Comment


                              #15


                              Was sent this link from a mate back in up in Dublin:


                              http://www2.limerickpost.ie/fullnews...23&amp;categor y=sport


                              Wont post the article here(even if some of it is funny!)....I wouldnt be happy to read similiar about us up in Dublin, unless it appeared in some sort of jokes/skit section, not in with all the other sports stories!
                              Seas suas agus troid!

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