OK, I know this is a bit late, but I’ve been slightly sick. Granted it was self inflicted, but nonetheless I was incapable of stringing two coherent words together.
The Men in Red pulled off another classic Munster Heineken Cup performance to soundly beat Wasps and top their group. Clinical, poised, confident, and completely in control throughout the game, Munster never seemed to be under as much pressure as they were against Clermont.
Donnacha O’Callaghan, Ronan O’Gara, and Mick O’Driscoll were just three players who were at the vanguard of a team performance that was every bit of what the fans had hoped for, but hardly dared dream of.
This wasn’t a match that can be described as a chronological series of events, but more a collection of memories:
Donnacha stealing ball after ball in the lineout, making Ibanez look like a part-time amateur in the process. Ronan kicking like a man possessed, despite being under extreme pressure from the Wasps line. David Wallace’s legs pumping like pistons, head down, hitting the opposition defence and drawing in two, three, sometimes four defenders. Doug Howlett following a Garryowen, lining up Doherty, Doherty catches well, Dougie has the head down, tackles low and drives Doherty back, Doherty looks a bit shook, he won’t be doing that again in a hurry. Dennis Leamy is sin-binned, bloody ref. Shaw is sin-binned, fair is fair ref. Dallaglio is sin-binned, great man that ref. Ronan shows the ball to the Wasps line, sorry lads, the pass isn’t going there, it’s going here instead, Leamy is on the end of it, over the line, Thomond Park erupts and that’s it, Wasps now know what we’ve known for the last hour, Munster are top of the group and Wasps are out. Cheerio lads, and thanks for the game.
And that was it. Donnacha gets Man of the Match, but any one of half a dozen players could have taken that accolade. Wait until Sunday to hear the quarter final draw – Gloucester away, not the best draw, but not the worst either. For the first time, the fact that we don’t have a home draw in the quarter final doesn’t seem to be much of a problem. Granted life would probably be much easier if we were at home, but with the quality of the performance this year, there’s a bit of confidence around Limerick.