Sean as Munster fan

As I have mentioned, Sean loved the Munster rugby team with a passion. He understood instinctively what they represented and embodied. When he was 12 or so, before a particularly difficult match, he said to me ‘I believe in Munster’.

Munster repaid this belief by qualifying for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals 12 times in a row, reaching the semi-finals and final numerous times and winning the competition twice, despite being pitted against French and English clubs with far greater resources and bigger names.

Very often Munster were drawn in the same group as the form English team of the time. In several seasons they played the away match first, and lost. The English team in question would then come to Limerick confidently expecting to emerge victorious and end Munster’s great home record. Instead, they would be thoroughly smashed.

In January 2003, Munster needed to beat Gloucester by 27 points and score four tries; otherwise Gloucester would go through and Munster would be out of the competition. Gloucester were leading the English Premiership at the time, and such a result seemed out of the question, yet Munster won 33–6, scoring their fourth try in the last minute. As Rupert Bates wrote in the Telegraph, Gloucester were simply blown out of the Heineken Cup by a force of rugby nature.

Munster did eventually lose a Heineken Cup match in Limerick (to Leicester, in January 2007), but they qualified for the quarter-finals anyway, so it didn’t really matter. That remains their only home defeat in Europe.

The clip below shows one of Sean’s favourite rugby moments … it made me cry when I watched it this morning because it encapsulates so much, and there is such emotion associated with it.

Sale, as per the classic script, were the form English team, had already beaten Munster at home, and arrived in Limerick expecting to put the Irish province in its place. Their ‘talisman’ was the hirsute French giant Sebastian Chabal. Before too long Chabal caught the ball and found himself propelled backwards at top speed … Munster scored their first try a couple of minutes later, and went on to win 31–9.

Yet another great day for Munster. How we loved it!

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Sean as Munster fan

  1. Marya

    Both heartwarming and heartbreaking memories for you of such high emotions shared with Sean, Brendano …. that Munster spirit is evident in your posts here.

    Marya x

    • Hello Marya … thank you. Today is an emotional day as it feels like Sean ought to be here to talk about the rugby. But life goes on.

      Last night we had a visit from the parents and sister of a boy Sean knew who died a year and a week before him, in a road accident. They were born on the same day, within a couple of hours of each other. It was good to talk with those people, as of course they understand all too well what we are experiencing.

      • Marya

        Yes, Brendan life goes on but at such difficult times it seems like a penance.

        When you mentioned, in a previous
        post, the tragic death of that young man I thought how deeply Sean’s passing would affect them.
        The only recompense for such suffering is the deepening of compassion .. in speaking of your shared sorrow you helped each other.

        Marya x

  2. papaguinea

    Brendano – enjoy the flow of the game today. I hope you feel the spirit of your son supporting you all in the TV room. Make sure you make a nice cup of tea for the Mrs! I will respond to recent posts within a few days – as for Spurs, ho ho ho – back to normality! I will watch the early part of the Irish game in support of you all, but I will switch to Ann Widdicombe for my sick entertainment later. Best wishes – the game soon to start.

  3. This time of year many of us think of the waste of young lives. From the fields about Bapaume to the roads around Bailieborough. Excuse me as I have some Strasbourg stuff to type, later!

  4. papaguinea

    Just listening to the Irish music and drums and singing before the game. Yes I believe in the Irish people!

  5. Nasreddin Hodja falls from the roof. People gather and start talking, “let’s fetch him to doctors” “hold him, carry him to his house”…
    Hodja holding his back says “Find me someone who fell from a roof, first”

    I write and delete many times.

    I will only say; This too shall pass.

  6. Tony D

    Hi Brendan
    Is Doug Howlett still with Munster ?
    What did you think of the Mealamu incident ?

    • Hello Tony. Yes, Howlett is a Munster hero … he had an excellent match against Toulon on 16 October and scored a very good try (seen at around 3.35 on this clip … quality not very good).

      I didn’t manage to catch much of the England-NZ match, and didn’t see the Mealamu incident. Looking forward to the Ireland-NZ match next week, although Ireland will have to improve hugely on their SA form to avoid a hammering.

  7. Munster beat Australia tonight, for the fourth time. Sean would have enjoyed that.

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