Munster have a vital Heineken Cup match away to Toulon – one of the big, super-rich French clubs – on 16 January. They have lost two group matches already; a third defeat would almost certainly mean their failure to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time since 1998.
As I have documented on this blog, the last full day of Sean’s life, 16 October, was partly spent watching rugby with me, and it was a happy day as Munster – the love of his rugby life – thrashed Toulon in Limerick.
I emailed Munster Rugby to tell them a bit about Sean. I talked about his devotion to the Munster team over the past eight years or so, and how he would have been desperately disappointed if they failed to reach the quarter-finals.
In response I had a very nice email from Pat Geraghty of Munster Rugby, expressing his sympathy on behalf of the Munster squad and management. Pat says, ‘I don’t imagine my words are much consolation to you but perhaps it might help to know that your words will be relayed to the team and may prove the inspiration they need going into a very difficult match.’
In fact this is a great consolation to Pauline, Susanna and me. We think it’s wonderful that the Munster players will know of Sean’s existence, and that they meant so much to him. Motivation and psychology are very important in rugby, and it’s possible that Sean will make some small difference … perhaps a significant one. I certainly hope so.
From our perspective, a Munster victory would be a kind of memorial to our beloved son and brother.