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Saturday 20 September 2014

Blood, sweat and tears: Five of the most epic Leinster v Munster showdowns

Published 25/03/2014 | 18:37

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Leinster's Leo Cullen and Munster's Alan Quinlan get to grips with each other during the Heineken Cup semi-final in 2009.

As we look forward to this weekend's eagerly anticipated clash between Rob Penney's Munster and Matt O'Connor's Leinster, we look back at some of the greatest clashes between the fierce rivals.

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1. Munster 16-22 Leinster, Rabodirect Pro12, Thomond Park, April 2013

A game which will be remembered for a very nasty injury to Leinster winger Dave Kearney who was on the receiving end of a kick to the head as Paul O'Connell attempted to hack the ball forward.

Then Leinster boss Joe Schmidt was not happy when O'Connell was not cited for the incident, claiming it set a dangerous precedent.

"In 12 years of professional coaching, I don't think I've ever seen a contact like that," he said

Ian Madigan kicked 17 points to add to Brian O'Driscoll's try to ensure another fine victory for Leinster at Thomond Park.

Felix Jones and Ian Keatley scored tries for Rob Penney’s side, with the out-half adding two penalties but it wasn't enough to avoid defeat.

2. Munster 30 Leinster 6, Heineken Cup semi-final, Landsdowne Road, April 2006

After an astounding 41-35 win over Toulouse in France. Leinster fancied their chances of turning over Declan Kidney's men but things didn't work out like that.

The Reds targeted Felipe Contepomi and ran in three tries to carry them to victory with Malcolm O'Kelly missing a tackle on Ronan O'Gara that allowed him to go in under the posts.

Inspired by that win and the ingenuity of Peter Stringer, Munster went on to beat Biarritz in the final.

3. Leinster 30 Munster 0, Rabodirect Pro12, RDS, October 2009

This game was a confirmation of a power shift in Irish rugby. Tries from Shane Horgan, Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy as well as a flawless kicking display from Jonny Sexton gave Leinster a facile win.

The game was also marred by a stamp from John Hayes on Cian Healy which resulted in the prop receiving a red card.

4. Leinster 24 Munster 20, Celtic League final, Landsdowne Road, December 2001

Leinster survived 55 minutes with 14-men after Eric Miller's sending off to beat Munster and claim the inaugural Celtic League crown.

Gordon D'Arcy and Shane Horgan scored crucial tries as Leinster held off their southern rivals.

Bod, Brian O' Meara and Brian O' Driscoll Celtic League final 2001.jpg

5. Leinster 25-6 Munster, Heineken Cup semi-final, Croke Park, April 2009

Munster were the reigning Heineken champions but Leinster had been waiting in the wings to make a statement of intent and they did so at Croke Park.

Inspired by the juggernaut that was Australian Rocky Elsom and the emerging Jonny Sexton Leinster blew Munster away with Brian O'Driscoll's late intercept try the final nail in the coffin.

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