A Look Back At Our Previous Home Quarter-Finals
29th March 2018 By The Editor
As the Munster squad prepare for the province’s 17th quarter-final and 10th home quarter-final in the Champions Cup – both competition records – we take a look back at the nine previous quarter-finals played on home soil.
Since the inaugural year of the Heineken Cup in 1995, Munster have forged a reputation as one of Europe’s top clubs.
It all kicked off on a Wednesday afternoon in Limerick as Cardiff visited Thomond Park on November 1, 1995. The game ended with a 17-13 win for a side that featured the likes of Anthony Foley, Mick Galwey and Peter Clohessy.
Having come close to qualifying from their Pool on a number of occasions in the early years, Munster finally made the breakthrough in the 1998/99 season but lost 23-9 away to Colomiers in the quarter-final.
The following year, they topped a Pool that also contained Saracens, Colomiers and Pontypridd to secure an all-important home quarter-final against Stade Francais.
Munster 27-10 Stade Francais, Thomond Park – April 15, 2000
Four first-half penalties from Ronan O’Gara laid the platform for a strong Munster side to secure a semi-final place for the first time as Dominic Crotty and Anthony Horgan touched down.
Munster went on to beat Toulouse 31-25 in a thrilling semi-final in France before losing 9-8 to Northampton in the Twickenham decider.
Foley Hits Hat-Trick
Munster 37-29 Biarritz, Thomond Park – January 28, 2001
The hosts won a barnstorming match against the Basque club with Declan Kidney’s men running up a 37-point score thanks to two men.
Ronan O’Gara kicked a magnificent seven penalties and a conversion as Anthony Foley scored a majestic hat-trick of tries.
The European adventure ended at the next stage with Stade Francais earning a controversial 16-15 semi-final victory after a John O’Neill try was incorrectly disallowed.
Old Rivals Collide Again
Munster 37-32 Stade Francais, Thomond Park – April 10, 2004
After earning away quarter-final wins in 2002 and 2003, Munster stormed into a record fifth Heineken Cup semi-final in a row thanks to a five-point victory at Thomond Park.
Both sides scored four tries, with fly-half Ronan O’Gara kicking 17 points in a polished performance.
Marcus Horan, Shaun Payne, Rob Henderson and Mike Mullins scored tries in the win before an agonising 37-32 loss to Wasps at Lansdowne Road ended Munster’s campaign at the semi-final stage.
Full House At Lansdowne
Munster 19-10 Perpignan, Lansdowne Road – April 1, 2006
A packed crowd of 48,500 supporters saw Munster come from behind after trailing 10-7 at half-time with Paul O’Connell scoring the only Munster try.
Four second-half penalties from the trusty boot of O’Gara earned the victory with Munster back at the Dublin venue three weeks later to secure a 30-6 semi-final win over Leinster.
Captain Anthony Foley, who had played in that first European game almost 11 years before against Cardiff, led the team to European glory thanks to a 23-19 win over Biarritz in the final played, fittingly, in Cardiff.
Munster 43-9 Ospreys, Thomond Park – April 12, 2009
Having won their second European Cup the previous season, Munster were rampant in this one-sided quarter-final.
Paul O’Connell, Paul Warwick and Keith Earls (two) were the try-scorers with Warwick adding two drop-goals to O’Gara’s four conversions and three penalties.
Munster travelled to Croke Park for another semi-final against Leinster in April in front of a then-world record crowd for a club match but fell to a 25-6 loss.
Saints No Match For Munster
Munster 33-19 Northampton Saints, Thomond Park – April 10, 2010
Having beaten Northampton to top spot in Pool 1, the sides met again in the quarter-finals with Munster securing a ninth semi-final spot.
Doug Howlett winged his way to two tries with Warwick and Jean de Villiers also touching down as O’Gara kicked two conversions and three penalties.
Munster met Biarritz in San Sebastian at the semi-final stage but fell to an 18-7 defeat.
Ulster Shock Thomond
Munster 16-22 Ulster, Thomond Park – April 8, 2012
An outstanding start to the game helped Ulster become the first side to beat Munster in a home quarter-final and qualify for their first semi-final since winning the competition in 1999.
Trailing 19-0 at one stage of the first half, Munster fought back as Simon Zebo touched down and Ronan O’Gara kicked a conversion and three penalties but Ulster held on for the win.
Toulouse Brushed Aside
Munster 47-23 Toulouse, Thomond Park – April 5, 2014
Munster made light work of Toulouse in a repeat of the 2008 Heineken Cup final as they ran in six tries with replacement CJ Stander awarded Man of the Match.
Ian Keatley kicked four conversions and three penalties with Paul O’Connell, Dave Kilcoyne, Simon Zebo, Casey Laulala, Keith Earls and Stander all touching down.
Munster met reigning champions Toulon in the semi-finals at the Stade Velodrome but were beaten 24-16.
Record 12th Semi-Final Place Secured
Munster 41-16 Toulouse, Thomond Park – April 1, 2017
Late tries from Darren Sweetnam and Andrew Conway put the gloss on the scoreline as Munster secured a place in the semi-finals for a record 12th time.
A first-half try from John Ryan gave Munster a 13-9 half-time lead with CJ Stander also touching down as Tyler Bleyendaal kicked five penalties and three conversions.
Munster’s campaign was ended once again at the semi-final stage as Saracens proved too strong at the Aviva Stadium.