Munster Up Aganst It.
7th May 2005 By Munster Rugby
Nine of the Lions touring party will be on show in Lansdowne Road tomorrow when Munster take on Leinster in the semi-final of the soon to be no-more Celtic Cup.
Munster and Leinster confrontations are ones that always capture the imagination and Sunday s Celtic Cup semi-final will be no different than anything that has gone before.
In the past there has been little to chose between the sides, the most recent meeting, in the League back in January, ending in a 19-13 win for Munster.
However that night, Munster supporters, after seeing their side dominate for the majority of the game, were left chewing their fingernails after a late Eric Miller try converted by David Holwell left just one score separating the sides as the game drifted into injury time.
Earlier in the season, when the sides met in Donnybrook there were just two points separating the sides (17-15) and if Munster did do the double the previous season, Leinster will hark back to the time they last met in Lansdowne Road, in December 2001, when they came from behind with 14 men to win 24-20.
The general perception is that Sunday s game will be decided by either the Munster pack or Leinster s lionised backline with most neutrals, if there is such a thing, opting for the pace and panache of Denis Hickie, Shane Horgan, Gordon D Arcy and Brian O Driscoll to see Leinster through.
Back to full strength, Leinster do look to hold the whip-hand. They are the home side, though how they managed to achieve that, finishing as they did, 12 points behind Munster in the League, is a mystery to many other than the organisers and they are unlikely to be unduly troubled by the famous Red Army.
The kick-off time of 5.30pm on a Sunday, effectively means that the majority of Munster based support will remain at home and those who will travel will be dispersed to different areas of the stadium thanks to a neat piece of footwork by Leinster Branch officials.
So Anthony Foley will lead his side out to an entirely different reception than the last time they were in Lansdowne Road. That was just twelve months ago when they faced Wasps in the Heineken Cup semi-final in front of an adoring audience. This time around the stadium will be more than half empty and the audience a little acridine and less adoring.
Plus ca change, plus c-est la meme chose
Munster. Shaun Payne; John Kelly, Mike Mullins, Rob Henderson, Anthony Horgan, Paul Burke, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, John Hayes; Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell; Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Anthony Foley capt Replacements Jerry Flannery, Gordon McIlwham, Trevor Hogan, Denis Leamy, Mike Prendergast, Jeremy Manning, Paul Devlin. Leinster: Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Brian O Driscoll, Gordon D Arcy, Denis Hickie; David Holwell Guy Easterby; Reggie Corrigan (Captain) Shane Byrne Emmett Byrne; Leo Cullen, Malcolm O Kelly; Des Dillon, Keith Gleeson, Victor Costello. Replacements (from): Ricky Nebbett, John Lyne, David Blaney, Ben Gissing, Shane Jennings, Eric Miller, Aidan McCullen, Brian O Meara, Felipe Contepomi, David Quinlan