ON one level it's a terrible insult. On another it's a huge compliment. There was understandable anger in Connacht rugby circles last week when Leinster came calling yet again and took one of their best players from them.
Second row Mike McCarthy will ply his trade with the reigning European Cup Champions from next season. What can we say? Connacht have proven too good for their own sake. We shouldn't forget that it wasn't that long ago that there was a march on the streets of Dublin's southside to protest the IRFU's decision to end professional rugby west of the Shannon.
A few short years later, they're welcoming Biarritz to the Sportsgrounds in Galway in the Heineken Cup and defeating them 22-14. Okay they lost on the return trip 17-0 and are out of the running for a place in the knock-out stages (Leinster and Munster, meanwhile, have their backs very much up against the wall to get out of their groups), but that's not the point necessarily.
They're there, they're still there, they're competitive, they're thriving and long may it continue.