Friday 30 September 2016

Sale, Gloucester wins tops for O'Connell

Matt Cassidy

Published 29/05/2015 | 02:30

Paul O'Connell said wins over Gloucester and Sale were among his best moments
Paul O'Connell said wins over Gloucester and Sale were among his best moments

Munster legend Paul O'Connell says his best memories of wearing the famous red shirt were the titanic Thomond Park battles against old English foes Gloucester and Sale Sharks in the Heineken Cup.

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O'Connell, who confirmed that he has played his last home game for Munster, said: "I loved the games against Gloucester and against Sale over here, because Gloucester were top of the English league at the time, Sale were top of the English league at the time," said the 35-year old lock.

Munster clashed with the Cherry and Whites back in 2003 needing to win by four clear tries and 27 points. John Kelly's injury-time try coupled with Ronan O'Gara's conversion were enough to see the province through on a scoreline of 33-6 in a contest dubbed 'The Miracle Match'.

Facing a similar situation in 2006, having to win with a try bonus point against Sale to progress, David Wallace crossed the line in the final minute to hand Munster a home quarter-final and a route to the Holy Grail in Cardiff.

But despite his famed success in the red jersey - 173 caps, winning three league titles, one Celtic Cup and two European Cups - the Limerick man says the post-match feelings of elation after those Heineken games are the dearest to him.

"It's being in there after a December Heineken Cup game or a January Heineken cup game when you've won. . . you've trained hard, you've worked really hard for a few months there's a bit of giddiness in the changing rooms; those are probably my main memories," he said.

Irish Independent

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