MUNSTER Rugby has an unofficial new anthem.
The song – entitled ' Munster Forever' and set to the music of 'An Poc ar Buile' – has been played at half-time at recent Munster matches at Thomond Park and Musgrave Park.
It was the brainchild of lifelong Munster supporters Denis Lawlor, a consultant at the Mater Hospital in Dublin, and renowned consultant psychiatrist and balladeer Louis O'Carroll.
Tragically, Dr O'Carroll died after being hit by a car in Listowel, Co Kerry, last March before seeing the project to fruition. The burning ambition of both medics was for Munster rugby supporters to have their own anthem instead of the adopted 'Fields of Athenry', which has its origins in Galway.
After Dr O'Carroll's death, help was sought from River to Sea, the band with whom he was the singer, and two versions of the song – radio and stadium versions – were recorded featuring Cork's Val Cook on lead vocals.
"The concept of the song came from the two lads being totally fed up with Munster supporters singing a Galway song," explained band member Pat Dempsey.
"Francie Conway, who is a musician of some renown, put special lyrics to the music of 'An Puc ar Buile' and we will be releasing the single after Christmas."
The song has proven to be a favourite among Munster supporters and all proceeds from the sale of the single will go to Munster Rugby's three designated charities.
"The stadium version is a real rabble-rousing one. There's a lot of bodhrans and drums in it and the concept is that it frightens the opposition so much that they just want to go home," added Mr Dempsey.
Munster Forever Lyrics
In the days when rugby began to blossom
A tribe was born, by the name of Munster
With passion, pride and courage, we built a team
And went on to conquer Europe
Hal La Lo, Pul A Lo
Hal La Lo, The Tribe of Thomond
Hal La Lo, Pul A Lo
Hal La Lo. Munster Forever
When Mick Galway lead out the team
Followed by The Claw, Flannery and Quinny
Stand up and fight, reds are true
O’Gara, Donacha, Stringer and Wally
O’Six , O’Eight we will never forget,
Crowds in the street, the 16th man supporting
The French resisting, the Bull persisting
O’Connell and Foley delivering victorys
Munster glory will live on forever
Just like mountains, rivers and oceans
Changes and new blood, will be plenty
Our hearts and souls, Munster Forever
Written by Francie Conway with additional lyrics by
Denis Lawlor © River to Sea SRCD 021