Monday 5 December 2016

Paul O'Connell's emotional farewell as Munster fall short

Published 31/05/2015 | 02:30

Paul O'Connel's Munster career ended in disappointment
Paul O'Connel's Munster career ended in disappointment
Munster's Paul O'Connell can't hide his disappointment with his runner's up medal

Munster's bid for what would have been their fourth league title fell well short at Ravenhill last night against a Glasgow side lifting the Pro 12 trophy for the first time as Paul O'Connell bid an emotional farewell.

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The Scots played blistering rugby in the first half, scoring three tries in 32 minutes, to leave Munster having to chase the game uphill. Glasgow won 31-13.

For Paul O'Connell, who is expected to confirm this week that he will be playing his rugby in France after the World Cup, it was a disappointing exit.

O'Connell - who at one point was held up over the Glasgow line - featured prominently in a pack that was superior to the Scots in the set-piece, but it wasn't near enough against a side whose offloading game was first class.

24 May 2008; Munster's Paul O'Connell celebrates with the Heineken Cup. Heineken Cup Final, Munster v Toulouse, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
24 May 2008; Munster's Paul O'Connell celebrates with the Heineken Cup. Heineken Cup Final, Munster v Toulouse, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
30 April 2005; Paul O'Connell, Munster. Celtic Cup 2004-2005, Quarter-Final, Munster v Edinburgh Rugby, Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit; Kieran Clancy / SPORTSFILE
19 April 2004; Paul O'Connell during a munster rugby press conference ahead of the Heineken Cup semi-final against Leinster. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit; Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
25 April 2004; Paul O'Connell, Munster. Heineken European Cup 2003-2004, Semi-Final, Munster v London Wasps, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE *EDI*
14 December 2002; Paul O'Connell, Munster, is tackled by Paul Roux, Viadana. Viadana v Munster, Heineken Cup, Round Four, Viadana, Italy. Rugby. Picture credit; Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE *EDI*
6 December 2002; Paul O'Connell, Munster, takes the ball in the lineout from Richard Denhardt, Viadana. Munster v Viadana, Heineken Cup, Round Three, Musgrave Park, Cork. Rugby. Picture credit; Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE *EDI*
15 December 2001; Paul O'Connell, Munster. Rugby. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
17 January 2015; Paul O'Connell, Munster, is tackled by Billy Vunipola, Saracens. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 1, Round 5, Saracens v Munster. Allianz Park, London, England. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
17 January 2015; Munster players Peter O'Mahony, left, and Paul O'Connell leave the pitch after the game. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 1, Round 5, Saracens v Munster. Allianz Park, London, England. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 May 2014; Paul O'Connell, Munster. Celtic League 2013/14 Play-off, Glasgow Warriors v Munster, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
27 April 2013; Munster's Paul O'Connell acknowledges supporters after defeat to ASM Clermont Auvergne. Heineken Cup Semi-Final 2012/13, ASM Clermont Auvergne v Munster, Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier, France. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
3 May 2013; Paul OConnell, Munster. Celtic League 2012/13, Round 22, Zebre v Munster, Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma, Italy. Picture credit: Roberto Bregani / SPORTSFILE
20 May 2006; Paul O'Connell, Munster, is tackled by Serge Betsen, Biarritz. Heineken Cup Final, Munster v Biarritz Olympique, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
20 May 2006; Munster lock Paul O'Connell with the Heineken Cup after the game. Heineken Cup Final, Munster v Biarritz Olympique, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
4 November 2011; Paul O'Connell, Munster. Celtic League, Leinster v Munster, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
8 December 2001; Paul O'Connell, Munster. Rugby. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / SPORTSFILE
4 November 2011; Sean O'Brien, Leinster, is tackled by Wian Du Preez, left, and Paul O'Connell, Munster. Celtic League, Leinster v Munster, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
12 December 2010; Munster's Paul O'Connell is shown the red card by referee Christophe Berdos. Heineken Cup Pool 3 - Round 3, Munster v Ospreys, Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
11 December 2009; Paul O'Connell, Munster, is tackled by Bertrand Guiry, Perpignan. Heineken Cup Pool 1 Round 3, Munster v Perpignan, Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
24 May 2008; Paul O'Connell, Munster. Heineken Cup Final, Munster v Toulouse, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
15 April 2006; Paul O'Connell, Munster, is tackled by Hugo Southwell, Edinburgh Gunners. Celtic League 2005-2006, Group A, Munster v Edinburgh Gunners, Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
23 April 2006; Paul O'Connell, Munster, celebrates after the final whistle against Leinster. Heineken Cup 2005-2006, Semi-Final, Leinster v Munster, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
26 February 2000; Paul O'Connell, Young Munster, takes the ball in the lineout. AIB League Rugby, Division 1, St Mary's v Young Munster, Templeville Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Read more: Glasgow seize their day to shine

Munster's only try came from centre Andrew Smith, another player who is leaving the province now, while the higher-profile JJ Hanrahan - who will join Northampton Saints after playing for Emerging Ireland in the Tbilisi Cup in June - was given a run in the last quarter.

The result was a triumph for Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend, who was winning his first trophy as a coach.

"When I played I saw the Irish teams winning trophies and having great crowds behind them and having massive success at pro level," he said.

"I believe we've had momentum up to this point and with this trophy we'll really kick on in terms of what we can do in professional rugby in Scotland."

Read more: The bar is set at new height

Munster captain Denis Hurley pointed to the opening half-hour of the match as key in his team's defeat.

"It was very frustrating in the first 20 minutes," he said. "We had a few very poor decisions in defence and all of a sudden we are two tries behind - very early to be chasing a game and we have done that a few times over the course of the season. It's very disappointing in a final for that to happen."

Hurley paid tribute to the departing players, and said there had been no fuss sought in the build-up to the game.

"They didn't really want to mention too much about today and the things outside of this actual game, and I suppose it is sad that we probably had more to offer in the 80 minutes, and didn't put more of a test to Glasgow. We all wish those lads well in the future."

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