Wednesday 18 January 2017

Even entitled D4 seagulls will flock to see battle between sides who are oceans apart

Published 02/04/2016 | 02:30

Fans will pack into the stadium this evening and I'm guessing there will be a much better atmosphere mainly because the fans will mostly be real fans and not picnickers who didn't even bother to come out to welcome the Irish team on to the field against Scotland (Stock image)
Fans will pack into the stadium this evening and I'm guessing there will be a much better atmosphere mainly because the fans will mostly be real fans and not picnickers who didn't even bother to come out to welcome the Irish team on to the field against Scotland (Stock image)

The seagulls are the only ones getting in from now on. The Munster-Leinster game is a sell-out.

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There's no shortage of seagulls in and about Lansdowne Road, the stadium being near the sea and all that. Even if it's not a proper ocean like the Atlantic.

And if you pulled up your trouser legs to go out for a paddle in the Irish Sea, the waves along the stretch from Sandymount to Killiney are no more than a puppy licking your toes.

For a good many years this was the way Leinster played. Harmless they were, but nowadays the men in blue are capable of having a storm named after them.

But we will go back for another bit of ornithology. The Aviva is in the middle of a wealthy area and so the bits and pieces that drop from overloaded bins and lunch boxes will be of the highest quality with fare such as caviar, quail eggs in aspic and the staple of D4, which is duck a l'orange.

That's French for duck in an orange sauce. It's their bacon and cabbage.

Sorry about the stereotyping of the poor old D4s but Munster-Leinster games bring out the worst in some of us. The seagulls will be well fed today anyway what with all the lads who are only at the game for the hot dogs and spilly pints in squelchy plastic glasses.

Fans will pack into the stadium this evening and I'm guessing there will be a much better atmosphere mainly because the fans will mostly be real fans and not picnickers who didn't even bother to come out to welcome the Irish team on to the field against Scotland.

I know this is a very cranky column but I had an argument with a metal machine with a serrated mouth as sharp as a wife who has discovered the bins were not put out while she was away doing penance in Loch Derg for the husband's sins.

Rubbish

The machine taking in rubbish bags nearly took my hand away. I was trying to stuff in too much and there's a lesson there for all of us. I'm not sure what exactly it is.

So, Munster and Leinster will go at it in the Aviva. I think one of the marketing people came up with 'Fevah in the Aviva' a few years back. The players were as hyped up as a McGregor fight.

Ructions is a great Irish word for fighting. There is a fiction abroad, and at home too, that all dirty play is spotted by the numerous cameras, or one of the many officials. The official-to-player ratio is six to one. That's a referee, two touch judges, a TMO and some other lad whose title I can't remember.

But players who engage in the dark arts are still getting away with terrible transgressions that would easily qualify as GBH on a charge sheet. We hope this will be a clean game. There doesn't seem to be the same needle as before.

A few years back, Munster were well on top and the geniuses on the net started to insult the Leinster players , calling them Ladyboys and the like. No insult to Ladyboys is meant. Good luck to The Ladyboys. We are all God's children but the insinuation was that Leinster were soft.

Leinster were hurt and responded by beating Munster time and again. Then, their sheep worriers started to insult the Munster sheep worriers by way of retaliation.

The sheep worriers didn't reflect the general sportspersonship and friendships that existed between the two provinces. We were in danger of creating a Liverpool-Manchester United-type hatred that would have contaminated Irish rugby.

There was always a bit of rancour there, going back a while. I can never figure out why Shannon's Pat Murray wasn't picked for Ireland. There was definitely a sense that Leinster and Dublin had all the power.

That has changed and now the Leinster team comprises players from every county in Leinster, including Limerick and Cork. Munster play Leinster players and as they say around here, 'you wouldn't know who is from where. Sure isn't Sexton a Kerryman?' More or less.

Famous

Indeed, there was a famous meeting of the Irish squad and it was said that the players were too attached to their provinces to the detriment of the national team. From then on Ireland came first.

But today there are points and positions in Europe's elite competition at stake. Players who are competing for Irish places will be judged on the head-to-heads.

The cold business facts are that failure to qualify for whatever the European Cup will be called next year will lead to a financial disaster for the provinces that miss out.

Leinster are the bookies' favourites to beat Munster. On paper they look good. Sexton is back and he will make sure that Leinster get stuck in a lot more than they did against Connacht.

Anthony Foley has Munster back up to fourth place. I think he's doing a fine job, as is Leo Cullen. Neither side had a proper pre-season what with the World Cup being the number-one priority. These two former greats haven't had a chance to prove their worth due to the fragmented nature of the season.

The Munster and Leinster back-rows will go at it aggressively at the breakdown. CJ and his Meara, Tommy O' Donnell will take some stopping.

I still haven't figured out the significance of the curious incident of the hand in the bin in the middle of the day. I kind of felt I just had to write about the near accident by way of ridding myself of my anger at nearly losing half of my hands.

Maybe the moral of the binning is to never put your hand in the dog's mouth, which wouldn't be of much help in a Munster-Leinster game. The only way to survive in such a rabid match is when man bites dog.

We will finish with a suggestion for ornithologists. The resident flying rats in D4 should be renamed the Greater Potbellied Leinster Seagulls on account of eating all the leftover orange sauce.

You can figure out the Latin name for yourselves.

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