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Munster Launch New Jersey
7 July 2003, 2:58 am
Munster Rugby officially launched their season and new Munster crest which will be featured on all Munster playing gear on Tuesday July 1st at the O Connell St (Limerick) branch of Bank of Ireland.
Munster Rugby officially launched their season on Tuesday July 1st at the O Connell St (Limerick) branch of their main sponsor Bank of Ireland.

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The event was hosted by Bank of Ireland Regional Manager (West Munster) Gerry Reeves with Francis Sheppard who heads up Bank of Ireland Planning & Marketing also in attendance.

Newly elected Munster Branch President Dr Len Harty led the Munster delegation which included, Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald, team manager Jerry Holland, Munster coach Alan Gaffney and Munster players Jim Williams, Anthony Foley, Dominic Crotty plus newcomers to the squad for this season, the former Swansea wing Shaun Payne,

Besdies announcing details of their squad for season 2003/2004 and a list of proposed dates for Celtic League and Heineken Cup fixtures, Munster also unveiled their new playing strip and a range of leisure wear. The most significant change to the playing gear sees a new Munster crest which will be featured on all Munster playing gear and all official Munster merchandise.

The change of crest (designed by Niamh Browne of Limerick based visual communications company Designers Ink) is brought about by the demands of the professional era and the need for sides to generate income in order to finance the running of a professional rugby squad. Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald explains, "Munster Rugby are changing their crest to reflect the commercial demands of the market we compete in. Munster will now have their own patented crest whilst still retaining the "three crowns" that have been a fundamental part of our heritage. Patenting it will protect Munster from unauthorised use of the crest".

Unlike others Munster have stuck closely to their original crest, retaining the three crowns but incorporating the image of a stag, an animal associated with Munster folklore as far back as the 11th century. One of the great Munster families, the McCarthy s who trace their origins back to the the Carthach, the 11th century Prince of Munster, had as their logo a red stag "trippant" (stepping), on a shield of metal grey.

If historically therefore the stag lends itself appropriately to the new Munster crest then the motto associated with the McCarthy crest - To the brave and faithful nothing is impossible - is particularly apt when one considers the achievements of this Munster squad who in the past four seasons have reached two Celtic League finals, and been the Irish flag bearers in European competition against the cream of Heineken Cup opposition reaching the semi final or final in the same period.

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