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Ulster hordes say yes to a lovely day out in Limerick

IT was an outcome Munster fans hadn't banked on and one Ulster supporters hadn't dared expect.

Yet despite the home side's defeat at a packed Thomond Park to the northerners in yesterday's Heineken Cup quarter-final, the visitors were given a warm welcome in Limerick.

Enjoying only her second visit to the home of Munster rugby, Tina Wallace from Belfast couldn't get over the warmth and hospitality in the city.

And it was well worth her while making the trip south as she saw for herself husband Paddy Wallace, the Irish international who played in the centre for Ulster yesterday, help snatch victory from the Munster men.

"I've only been to Limerick once before but everyone is really polite and friendly," she told the Irish Independent.

Disappointment

A group of nine from the Wallace camp travelled, including Paddy's father-in-law Les Blackburn, who was also enjoying the banter in former international star Peter Clohessy's bar before the game.

Munster supporters John Morton and Gene Buckley from Cork should be well used to disappointment by now.

The pair were among the thousands of Irish supporters who made the trip to the ill-fated game in Paris but could not afford to return a second time.

"When we arrived home from Paris there was a photographer at the airport and he asked us to look sad but we couldn't. We were after having a savage weekend in Paris anyway," said John, who admitted he had already booked his tickets to the semi-final in the Aviva, in anticipation of a different outcome.

One southern lassie who went home happy yesterday was Tipperary woman Karen Kissane, a self-declared turncoat. "The abuse I get in Tipperary is serious but I've been living in Newtownards for the past 15 years so I turned," she said.

Diehard Ulster fans Michael and Trew Mehaffy were among those who made the 277km trip from Belfast. "It's a lovely city and we come back every time we play here," said Michael.

Now they march on to Dublin's fair city for a semi-final against Edinburgh.

Irish Independent