In both the inaugural Celtic League and last year s competition, the sides were drawn in different pools with Glasgow denied a rattle at Munster when they were defeated by Leinster in the 2001/2002 semi final. The two squads did actually come into close contact that year, billeted together as they were in Dublin s Burlington Hotel prior to the semi-final.
The following season (2002/03) a three point quarter-final home defeat to Ulster once again prevented a Munster/Glasgow meeting but the inevitable has finally occurred with this winner take all clash this evening.
Munster s season has begun with one win from three outings, that win coming in the opening game of the Celtic League against Leinster in Donnybrook, an achievement savoured with some degree of relish by all Munster men. Since then Alan Gaffney's largely young squad has suffered defeat at the hands of Welsh sides Llanelli Scarlets and most recently Neath Swansea Ospreys. However, although defeat is never palatable, whether the army be Tartan or Red, Munster will be cheered by the progress it has made in introducing new blood to the squad since the start of the season.
Gone are the grizzled Mick Galwey and Peter Clohessy. Gone also is Killian Keane although he did return to help topple Leinster in that opening game - and there is a fresh-faced look about the men in red these days thanks to the return to Munster ranks of 21 year Martin McPhail, 22 year old Eoin Reddan and Jerry Flannery (24) who all enjoyed a little sojourn in Connacht.
Then there is Corkman Conrad O Sullivan, just turned 22 and Stephen Keogh from Limerick who captained the Ireland Under 21s last season. Latest arrival is 24 year old lock David Pusey who joins from ACT Brumbies but who is qualified to play for Ireland through his grandmother who hailed from Skibbereen in County Cork
At this stage of their careers 23 year old Mossie Lawlor, Denis Leamy and Jeremy Staunton are often classed as veterans even though Staunton only celebrated his 23rd birthday in May of this year and Leamy is a mere gossoon, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday on the weekend that Munster play Cardiff Blues in Musgrave Park. Shaun Payne is another newcomer to the Munster ranks who can no longer be classed a gossoon nor can Jason Jones Hughes who like Payne joined this term from the Welsh game, but their presence along with the likes of Jim Williams, Mike Mullins, Simon Kerr, Martin Cahill and David Wallace who should be in Terregal, as should Mullins, this evening means the youngster can develop their skills in the perfect environment.
In time it can be a potent mix and Munster have never put short term gain ahead of the development of it s players. They concluded the opening games of the Celtic League without managing to cross the opposing line. Last weekend they weighed in with four tries two for Staunton, Wallace and Mullins the other scorers.
More importantly perhaps was the manner in which they created and then executed those scores. Towards the end of the game in Swansea last weekend as they came in search of a winner, .it wasn t like the old Munster. Just the new Munster doing what the old Munster did so well.