RUGBY fans in Listowel have hailed the late Louis O'Carroll as the creator of nothing less than a new musical identity for Munster rugby.
Dr O'Carroll, who tragically passed away following a road accident last March, wrote Munster's new anthem - Munster Forever - which is already catching on among the team's legion of fans.
A consultant psychiatrist, Dr O'Carroll was able to devote more time to his songwriting on retirement and wrote Munster Forever - to the tune of An Poc ar Buille - with Mater Hospital consultant Denis Lawlor. Both were keen to see the mournful Galway song ' The Fields of Athenry' replaced with a more lively battle cry for the Munster fans.
It's not the only major Listowel-related event in the history of Munster rugby this week, however, after the actions of one fan led to a stoppage of a minute or two in the showdown against Saracens in the crunch Heineken Cup pool match on Sunday.
David 'Classy' Fitzmaurice had stewards searching in vain for the ball when he caught it after Simon Zebo kicked it into touch.
"I saw him kicking it and I told John Fitzgerald and Mike Brosnan who were with me that I was going to catch it. The two boys lifted me up and in one motion I caught it, brought it down and hid it under the seat," Mr Fitzmaurice told The Kerryman.
"'It's a pity you didn't do that when you were playing for Listowel!' the boys said."
A cat- and- mouse game with stewards ensued as Mr Fitzmaurice attempted to spirit the ball out of the stadium. "I put it under my coat and on the way out we told the stewards we had it but they weren't getting it. We had to deflate it to get it on the plane, but we're delighted to say now that it is safely ensconsed in Mike Brosnan's bar on Market Street!"
This was the second time Mr Fitzmaurice and Mr Brosnan were involved in an off-pitch episode in a Munster game this year. In January they did little to help the blood pressure of Northampton coach Jim Mallinder when they accidentally wandered into his box at a crucial stage in the game.
"Would you like a Listowel tie?" Mr Fitzmaurice asked Mallinder on that occasion.
Meanwhile, all in the Listowel club said they are thrilled with Dr O'Carroll's new anthem for the Munster side. "It's fantastic, for Listowel and for Louis O'Carroll's legacy," Mr Fitzmaurice - who is treasurer of the club - said. "What he has done is nothing less than having given Munster a new identity in song and we will need it to get out of the pool in the match against Racing Metro in January!"