5 Dec, 11:40
Tommy O'Donnell will start from the bench for Munster A when they face Plymouth Albion in Round 3 of the British and Irish Cup tomorrow night.
His first Heineken Cup cap followed in November 1999 in the game against Pontypridd at Thomond Park, this time replacing Peter Clohessy and in December that same year came his first European start alongside Keith Woods and Hayes, in the game against Colomiers played at Les Sept Deniers.
That was the first time Munster recorded a victory on French soil in a season that saw Munster reach their first Heineken Cup Final. He was on the bench that day and again in 2002 to experience further heartbreak but he was the regular loose-head by the time Munster won the title in 2006 and again played a crucial part in their 2008 march to the title.
It is a testimony to his professionalism and dedication that after 13 seasons he still commands inclusion in perhaps the most ferocious area of the modern game and his current coach and former playing colleague, Anthony Foley, himself the first Munster player to reach 200 caps, recognised that when he said. "Having played and worked with Marcus, I've seen first hand the sort of work ethic and application he brings to the game. And he's been doing that week in week out over the past 13 seasons."
"Remember too he's had his share of time out with illness and injury," Foley continues, "and we recognise the test of endurance he's had to face and yet still managed to accumulate 200 caps. I think that says it all about the man."
"He's been a massive servant to Munster and the game in general and sets an example to others of what it takes to be worthy to wear the Munster jersey."