six of the best
munster's french connection
Saturday, December 11, 1999,
Munster ended their five-game streak of losses on French soil with a typically poignant declaration of Gallic intent just down the road from where captain Mick Galwey had three years earlier vainly exhorted his embarrassed troops to "keep it under 50" against Toulouse.
Colomiers, beaten by Ulster in the previous year's final, had roughed up Munster in the '99 quarter-final and this was more revenge served with cool heads.
Marcus Horan's dashing late try summed up a great day, even if Declan Kidney typically played it down. "We'd be a dangerous team if we played for 80 minutes," he deadpanned.
Colomiers -- JL Sadourny; M Biboulet, S Roque, J Sierac, D Skrela; M Carre (B Lhande 60), F Culinat; JB Beyssen, M Dal Maso (C Laurent 80), P Pages, G Moro (M Marient 66), JM Lorenzi (JP Revailler 61), B de Giusti (capt), P Tabacco, S Peysson.
Scorers -- J Sieurac, JL Sadourny (1 try), D Skrela (1 pen, 1 con).
Munster -- J Staunton (D Crotty 74); J Kelly, J Holland, M Mullins, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer (T Tierney 80); M Horan, K Wood, J Hayes (I Murray h/t, F Sheahan 77); M Galwey (capt), J Langford; A Quinlan, D Wallace, A Foley.
Scorers --J Holland (2 tries), K Wood, M Horan (1 try), R O'Gara (3 pens, 1 con).
Saturday, May 6, 2000,
An 'I was there' moment and what a pleasure it was to witness a pulsating semi-final -- despite a typically brusque decision by the French to call an internal air strike, forcing many supporters to dash from Paris by train.
Ronan O'Gara's epochal try summed up Munster's on-field spirit, the 3,000 fans who completed the odyssey encapsulated the now rampant red army off the field. And a post-match phone call from Richard Harris to Mick Galwey illustrated how Munster's tale was already of the folk variety.
Toulouse -- S Ougier; E Ntamack, C Desbrosse (P Bondouy 70), L Stesness, M Marfaing; A Penaud, J Cazalbou; C Califano (C Soulette 72), Y Bru, F Tournaire, F Pelous, F Belot (capt), D Lacroix (M Lievremont 75), C Labit, S Dispagne (H Miorin 74).
Scorers -- J Cazalbou (1 try), M Marfaing (5 pens, 1 con), S Ougier (1 pen).
Munster: D Crotty; J Kelly, J Holland, M Mullins, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; P Clohessy, K Wood (F Sheahan h/t), J Hayes, M Galwey (capt, D O'Callaghan 78), J Langford, E Halvey, D Wallace, A Foley.
Scorers -- J Hayes, J Holland (1 try), R O'Gara (1 try, 4 pens, 2 cons)
Stade Francais 14
Saturday, January 26, 2002,
Two years on from Bordeaux and another stunning win but in entirely different circumstances -- for one thing, this quarter-final was held on a freezing, gale-swept afternoon in the middle of a Paris winter.
A closing pool defeat in Castres had forced Munster on the road again to face the team against whom they'd been robbed in Lille a year earlier.
Backed by the wind, Munster built up a big lead and defended it resiliently on a day a certain Paul O'Connell became a man.
Stade Francais -- S Jonnet; M Williams, F Comba, N Raffault, R Poulain; D Dominguez, F Galthie; S Marconnet (P Lemoine 67), M Blin, P de Villiers; D Auradou, M James; R Martin, C Juillet (capt), P Rabadan (C Moni 79).
Scorers -- C Juillet (1 try), D Dominguez (3 pens).
Munster -- D Crotty; J Kelly, R Henderson, J Holland, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; P Clohessy (M Horan 80), F Sheahan, J Hayes; M Galwey (capt), P O'Connell; J Williams, A Foley, D Wallace.
Scorers -- A Horgan (1 try), R O'Gara (2 pens, 1 con, 1 DG).
Saturday, April 27, 2002,
Stade de la Mediterranée
A tie delayed by foot and mouth and steeped in blood, chiefly that of Peter Clohessy, upon whose arm Ismaela Lassissi had attempted a Mike Tyson in the pool game before being astonishingly exonerated.
Clohessy then burned the same hand burning rubbish in his back garden but still returned for this pulsating semi-final in Beziers as Munster's forwards dogged out a torrid affair.
Castres -- R Teulet ( O Sarranea 77); U Mola (F Plisson 80), N Artiguste (G Delmotte 51), N Berryman, S Longstaff; G Townsend (capt), A Albouy; M Reggiardo (D Dima 70), R Ibanez (Vigneaux h/t), B Moyle, I Fernandez-Lobbe, N Spanghero (S Chinarro 70), R Froment, I Lassissi, A Costes.
Scorers -- S Longstaff (1 try), R Teulet (4 pens).
Munster -- D Crotty (J Staunton 80); J Kelly, R Henderson (M Mullins 80), J Holland, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; P Clohessy (M Horan 70), F Sheahan, J Hayes, M Galwey (capt), P O'Connell, A Quinlan, D Wallace, A Foley (D O'Callaghan15).
Scorers: J Kelly (1 try), R O'Gara (6 pens, 1 con).
Friday, January 13, 2006,
Stade Pierre Antoine
After losing their opening pool game against Sale and failing to pick up bonus points home or away against Dragons, Munster were quoted at 50/1 to win the competition before this one.
Declan Kidney threw characteristic caution to the mistral and parachuted youngsters Barry Murphy and Ian Dowling into his hitherto suffocated midfield -- a scintillating display of running rugby propelled Munster back into bookies' sights and ultimately spurred on their maiden Cup triumph.
Castres -- P Christophers; Y Fior, N Raffault, F Tuilagi, B Fleming; L Marticorena (R Teulet 64), N Mathieu; J Castex, D Romieu, D Attoub (C Hoeft 73), K Ghezal, N Spanghero (capt), R Froment (P Purcelli 64), G Bernad, G Tausac.
Scorers -- L Marticorena (3 pens).
Munster -- S Payne; J Kelly (T O'Leary 58), B Murphy, T Halstead (G Connolly 67), I Dowling; R O'Gara (J Manning 75), P Stringer; M Horan (F Pucciariello 70), J Flannery (D Fogarty 72), J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell (M O'Driscoll 71), D Leamy, D Wallace, A Foley.
Scorers -- P O'Connell, T O'Leary (2 tries), M Horan, S Payne, J Kelly (1 try), R O'Gara (3 cons, 1 pen), J Manning (1 con).
Sunday, December 20, 2009,
Stade Aimé Giral
Yoann Vivalda will have little difficulty forgetting this one. Having taunted the men in red by claiming their narrow defeat in Limerick a week before was akin to an Academy training match, Munster exploded into life.
Under-fire boss Tony McGahan dropped Jean de Villiers but it didn't matter as Perpignan fell to only their third home defeat in competition history in what Mick Galwey reckons is Munster's greatest ever success away to a French side.
Perpignan -- P Burger; F Sid, D Marty, M Mermoz, C Manas; G Hume, D Melé; J Schuster (P Freshwater 60), M Tincu (G Guirado 60), N Mas (K Pulu 74), O Olibeau, R Tchale-Watchou, Y Vivalda, B Guiry, O Tonita (Y Parent 60).
Scorers -- G Guirado (1 try), D Melé (3 pens).
Munster -- P Warwick; D Howlett, K Earls, L Mafi (J de Villiers 61), D Hurley; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; W du Preez, D Fogarty (D Varley 59), J Hayes (T Buckley 66), D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell (capt); A Quinlan (D Ryan 59), D Wallace, D Leamy.
Scorers -- J Fogarty, D Hurley, J de Villiers, D Howlett (1 try), R O'Gara (3 pens, 3 cons), P Warwick (1 con)