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Letter to the Editor
1 January 2004, 6:21 pm
It would not be my normal practice to write to newspapers complaining about their coverage of events but this Saturday's report of Munster v Connacht forced me to change the habit of a lifetime.
It would not be my normal practice to write to newspapers complaining about their coverage of events but this Saturday's report of the Munster v Connacht game forced me to change the habit of a lifetime.

Well almost anyway, insofar as I decided to write to the Munster website firstly to air my annoyance and secondly to see what others think. In his report of the game which I attended, Mulqueen opined that Munster were a huge disappointment. and went on to say that if there were individual stars on the night they were in the Connacht side. Now going into this game Connacht were ahead of Munster in the table, had produced a victory over French side Beziers to get to the next round of the Parker Pen and were sure to have the majority of the 4,000 crowd roaring them on.

Throw in the deplorable conditions that guaranteed a lottery of a game and consider also that because of the silly timing of the national squad session, 11 of the Munster starting XV had just one hour of preparation in the week leading up to the game. Munster dominated territorially and full credit to Connacht whose defence was superb, but it had to be, to keep their line intact.

And full credit to Munster s discipline that allowed just two kicks at goal. And full credit to both sides for the level of play which in the conditions, was admirable. But for Mulqueen sitting in relative comfort at the back of the new stand, the game was a dour contest (certainly not as bright as his yellow v-necked golf jumper).

No, rather a case of going back in time instead of what we should have seen, a wide expansive game, with backs and forwards mingling, in the sleet and the rain and the wind, to produce a game that would flow like the icy rain that ran down my back for the duration of what I thought was an absorbing contest.

Throughout what passed as a match report Mulqueen extolled the virtues of the Connacht performance with eulogies about the inspirational hooker Bernard Jackman and the tireless John O Sullivan and Paul Neville Why would Neville tire ? He left the field injured after 27 minutes. Bad luck struck Connacht when The Proper Charlie tells us that Connacht were only deprived .

Of what I hear you ask. A try? A penalty?

No.

A counterattack. And again bad luck struck leading up to the winning O Gara penalty when Connacht infringed for a penalty award that wasn t readily apparent to Charlie in his ivory tower or Eric Elwood who danced up and down in frustration and disapproval Frustration perhaps Charlie, with the knowledge that O Gara wouldn t miss and disapproval with his muppet mates who killed the ball at the ruck.

Throughout the report there was not one mention of a positive thing from a Munster point of view. Shaun Payne's debut at 15 was dealt with through a comment from Alan Gaffney while Mulqueen decided that "it's game on between him and Jeremy Staunton for the number 15 jersey against Gloucester." Well sorry Charlie, to my simple mind in that case it's game over but then I don't select the team.

Interestingly Connacht coach Michael Bradley said when asked what he thought (not by Charlie mind you), Cold and wet. It was an excellent game of rugby in the sense that it was so tough and went on it was not a game made for the meek of mind or body. (a reference to the frozen v-necked Mulqueen above in the stand perhaps ?). Two well matched sides batled gamely and honestly in atrocious conditions and managed to provide a fair level of entertainment.

The weather probably helped to balance things on the pitch. What a pity Mul;queen couldn't have injected a little balance into his match report.

Yours sincerely, Name and address with Editor.

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