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Leinster heroes give us a reason to cheer again as they down Tigers

Sporting success is often the perfect tonic for a nation starved of good news.

Leinster's professional 17-10 victory over the Leicester Tigers continues their gallant and grand European adventure and gives us hope of another Irish victory in this competition.

As a spectacle, it may not have been pretty, but it was an absorbing quarter-final tie.

The game was tight, edgy and riddled with errors, but you dared not take your eyes off it even for a second.

In front of a noisy and passionate near-capacity crowd at the Aviva Stadium, Leo Cullen and his team were determined to banish from memory the defeat to old rivals Munster last weekend.

Twelve of the players who took to the pitch shortly before six o'clock were here three weeks ago when Ireland hammered England. Eight of those wore green that day and blue yesterday.

Jonathan Sexton kicked three penalties to give the home team a 9-3 lead at the break, following consistent attacking pressure from the Leinster pack during the first half.Luke Fitzgerald was unfortunate not to get over for a try, following some decisive attacking play by Leinster. Disaster for Leinster was just about avoided at the start of the second half as Leicester had a try ruled out by the video referee.


But Joe Schmidt's team had to ensure sustained pressure from the Tigers, who made it a real contest.

A brilliant counter-attack minutes later from Shane Horgan and full-back Isa Nacewa culminated in the first try of the game, to give Leinster a deserved 14-3 lead.

A bloodied nose for Brian O'Driscoll typified the commitment and hunger for victory from the home team.

Throughout, the work rate was immense, the commitment total. Another Sexton penalty six minutes from the end appeared to seal the victory, until Leicester got over for a try to narrow the gap to just seven points.It was desperate right until the end, but Leinster held on.

Now we can look forward to the prospect of a semi-final, possibly in Croke Park, on the weekend of April 30/May 1. Reason, indeed, to be cheerful -- though the win almost certainly scuppers Brian O'Driscoll's chances of attending the royal wedding on April 29.

Sunday Independent