Friday 20 January 2017

REVEALED: readers choose their greatest Munster side of the professional era

Published 27/04/2015 | 17:01

Paul O'Connell, Donncha O'Callaghan and Doug Howlett celebrate victory in the 2008 heineken Cup Final. Will the trio make the greatest Munster team of the professional era?
Paul O'Connell, Donncha O'Callaghan and Doug Howlett celebrate victory in the 2008 heineken Cup Final. Will the trio make the greatest Munster team of the professional era?

Last week we asked our readers to vote for their greatest Munster team of the professional era and today we can reveal the starting fifteen.

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Following on from our Leinster selection, readers voted in their droves to choose the best 15 players to have worn the famous red jersey since 1995.

Here are the two South Africans, two New Zealanders and eleven Irishmen that made the cut after more than 35,000 votes were cast.

15. Shaun Payne

Prior to Isa Nacewa, South African Shaun Payne took most plaudits as one of the most consistent and shrewd buys in Irish rugby. Spent five years at Munster and recognised as one of the best buys for the province.


14. Doug Howlett

After injuries dogged Christian Cullen's time with Munster, there were fears that fellow Kiwi Howlett might go the same way, but he delivered time and time again in red. Part of the 2008 Heineken Cup winning side and was a popular choice for captain.


13. Rua Tipoki

The New Zealander was a no-nonsense centre whose defensive solidity was the platform for so many victories. Formed a brilliant partnership with Liefemi Mafi.  

12. Trevor Halstead

The closest battle on the team was between Halstead and Liefemi Mafi for the number 12 jersey. The teak-tough South African had just two per cent of the votes to spare over the current Perpignan player. Spent two seasons in Munster and scored during the 2006 Heinken Cup Final victory over Biarritz.


11. Simon Zebo

While Anthony Horgan claimed nearly a credible quarter of the public vote, the 2013 Lions international Zebo was the popular choice among the readers.

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10. Ronan O'Gara

With the greatest respect to Paul Warwick and Ian Keatley, the number 10 question was never in doubt for the player voted with making the greatest contribution to the Heineken Cup.


9. Peter Stringer

The ever-green Peter Stringer will always have a place in the hearts of the Munster supporters where his all-action displays helped Munster to eventually claim the Holy Grail of European success in 2006 and 2008.


8. Anthony Foley

Current head coach Anthony Foley's exploits at the base of the scrum have not been forgotten by supporters. The Clare man polled just short of three quarters of the vote.  

7. David Wallace

The versatile flanker romped home with 97pc of the vote.  

6. Alan Quinlan

Current captain Peter O'Mahony fell short to Alan Quinlan. An illustration of the competition for the number six jersey was the fact that Jim Williams claimed 19pc of the vote.  

5. Paul O'Connell

While John Langford made a big contribution in his own right, he simply had no chance up against arguably the most inspirational Irish rugby player of his generation, and perhaps of all-time.


4. Donncha O'Callaghan

A Munster, Ireland and Lions partnership is reunited with the Cork lock fending off stiff competition from the legendary Mick Galwey to claim a starting spot.


3. John Hayes

A runaway winner for the tight-head position. The Bull claimed all but seven per cent of the public vote after distinguished service for both club and country.  

2. Keith Wood

The former Ireland captain spent only one year at his native province, the year they lost agonisingly to Northampton in the 2000 final, but has always remained a fan's favourite. Jerry Flannery polled 38pc of the votes.


1. Peter Clohessy

The grizzly Limerick prop nearly double the vote of two-time Heineken Cup winner Marcus Horan.


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