Monday, 12 April 2010

Saints March In ... Munster March On.

Started the day with a cycle and made sure to include Thomond Park on the route. Went past it at 9:30 on Saturday morning and knew that a day to be spent dying, wondering would unfold. By mid-afternoon, I was drained.
The ticket for lower East stand also had me drained - dehydrated is the correct term. I've been at games where the dark gloom has chilled visiting side with a big reputation, the stadium could't have been more welcoming for visitors on Saturday. Sunday's sore head had as much to do with bright sunshine as dark stout.
What came to pass from 5:30 onwards was hard to credit. The way the game flowed lessened the tension and the big start was everything. Each of the tries contained passages of play that stand up there with anything Munster have created in the last five years, passes from Earls and O'Gara for the first two, firm scrummaging and excellent running and passing by O'Leary for the latter pair.
O'Gara reshaped the soccer maxim that you can't score if you don't have the ball and hammered home the point that you are more likley to score if you are playing somewhere other than your own half. Even in the dark shadows of the West Stand, it was possible to pick put Chris Ashton's pink boots losing the races to his touchline, beaten each of three times by O'Gara's spiralling punts.
For too long this season Munster have played as if they must hold onto the ball at all costs. In this match they offered Northampton the ball regularly, confident that they would win it back and availing of the opportunites prsented to inflict physical damage in the contact zones.
Fear drove the players and the 23,000 red-clad fans in the ground that evening, it was a great occasion. Obituaries, mine included, are now in the bin, replaced by a view that Biarritz can be taken and anything can happen in a final. Munster for Paris. Print this post

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