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Presidents Message
2 February 2004, 12:36 pm
What a month we have had in January. Who would have thought that our guys would once again cross the Rubicon and bring back a home quarter-final which will bring the aristocrats from Stade Francais.
The great Italian feast of purification was celebrated on the first of February in honour of the old Italian deity, Februus.

This bisextilis year is thus termed, because, in order to balance the Roman calendar as closely as possible to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun it was necessary to double the sixth day before the Ist of March every fourth year. Amazingly the first time Munster appeared in the Heineken final was in a Leap Year.

What a month we have had in January. Who would have thought that our guys would once again cross the Rubicon and bring back a home quarter-final which will have the aristocrats from Stade Francais visit Thomond Park at Easter. (I am not quite sure as to whom their calendar is appealing. Our own production would not stand out quite so perkily). Stade certainly have a superb team but all thing being equal, they are not unbeatable.

I know that we can always expect a full house at home but the fact that we had over three thousand supporters at the game in Treviso was truly mind-boggling. That performance by our fans has, registered in all the other Heineken camps and will add to our reputation as the supported team in the European club rugby.

Congratulations to Connacht on reaching the Parker Pen Challenge Cup semi-final and commiserations to Leinster and Ulster both of whom missed out on quarter-final qualification so narrowly.

The news on our injured players is encouraging with Christian Cullen back in training, Frank Sheahan recovered, Alan Quinlan improving by the week, Marcus Horan back on the Irish squad, Jason Jones-Hughes back in action and Mike Prendergast also making good headway.

I m sure everyone joins me in wishing Eddie O Sullivan, Brian O Brien, Declan Kidney Niall O Donovan and the national squad the very best of luck in the RBS Six Nations championship. Let s hope they can beat all before and that our own boys come back to us uninjured.

Now we are back to the Celtic League and let us hope that we can get the same support from our fans for these matches. There are many young players of great ability coming through so do enjoy both watching them develop and supporting them from an early stage. Dr Len Harty President Munster Branch

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