6 Dec, 21:27
Munster A tasted defeat for the first time this season as they went down 17-7 to Plymouth Albion in the British and Irish Cup on Friday night.
An appearance in Cardiff City Stadium the night before the Heineken Cup final would have gone a long way towards compensating for not actually being involved in the main event. But Munster gave themselves no chance whatsoever of making that trip as they succumbed to a Harlequins side who won this Amlin clash a lot easier than the final scoreline suggests.
In brilliant conditions in front of a near capacity crowd (24,907) the odds-on favourites produced a flat performance that had both the players themselves and management at a loss to explain. But afterwards a clearly dejected James Coughlan spoke of how, "we let ourselves and everyone here down, "before speaking of how they needed to get over it and get ready for the remaining games in the Magners. "We've the game against Connacht then another semi-final coming up. We don't want our season to be remembered for this."
Difficulty for them is that the level of disappointment was such that it will undoubtedly effect the crowd next week and could also make the semi-final a hard sell, a fact not lost on coach Tony McGahan.
"We're aware that the impact of the defeat spreads way beyond the dressing room. There was huge support for us here on Saturday and quite frankly those supporters were let down by that performance.
"We've always taken pride in the fact that we give value for that support, This time we didn't and we can understand the disappointment that's out there.
"I think we now owe it to our supporters, our sponsors and ourselves to try and address this in the remaining games in the Magners starting with the game next Friday against Connacht."
Munster begin preparations for the that game with a squad training session tomorrow in UL.