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BOD loses his boots ... but the Blues' heroes bow out in style

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25 May 2013; Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster, throws his boots into the crowd as he celebrates after the game. Celtic League Grand Final, Ulster v Leinster, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

25 May 2013; Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster, throws his boots into the crowd as he celebrates after the game. Celtic League Grand Final, Ulster v Leinster, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

25 May 2013; Brian O'Driscoll, Leinster, throws his boots into the crowd as he celebrates after the game. Celtic League Grand Final, Ulster v Leinster, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

LEINSTER'S loss is Ireland's gain.

Joe Schmidt, Isa Nacewa and Jonathan Sexton got a rapturous applause for their final game with Leinster after their thrilling 24-18 victory over Ulster in the Rabo Pro 12 final, with Blues fans cheering them off the pitch at the RDS.

While most Blues fans were sad to see the end of Joe Schmidt's reign come to an end, the majority of them were confident that they will see Sexton don the blue jersey again – probably in two years' time, according to the fans who spoke to the Herald afterwards.

For now, though, the fans were happy enough to enjoy the moment in a gloriously sun-soaked RDS.

 

LEGEND

Frank and Lorraine Maguire and their three children – Scott (14), Luke (13) and three-year-old Kerry – travelled from their home in Castleknock to see the final at the RDS.

"It's a sad for Leinster, but it's absolutely great day for the country," Frank said, referring to Schmidt's move to the Ireland job. "Isa is an absolute legend but I think Jonny will be back," he added.

Lorraine described the last 10 minutes of the match as "really intense".

Actress Gemma Doorley, from Rathgar, was thrilled to see Leinster win their final game of the season. "It's sad to see Joe go but I think he will do amazing things with Ireland."

Father and son Nick and Geoffrey Wheeler, from Lucan and Enniskerry, were decked out for the final. Geoffrey wore a blue onsie, while dad Nick had a hat that Harry Potter would have been proud of.

"We've been to see every single Leinster match this year – Heineken Cup, friendlies, Amlin and today. We even spent €11,000 on a box in the Aviva - we were hoping Leinster would make it to the final. We still went though and had a great day," dad Nick explained.

"Joe Schmidt has been fantastic but Leinster's loss is Ireland's gain. Jonathan Sexton is going, too, but I think he will be back here in two years. He's a fantastically talented player and he will learn a lot more in France," he said.

He also backed a supporters' campaign to give Isa the freedom of the city.

Wayne Mitchell was with his five-year-old son Shaun, who gave an enthusiastic "yes" when asked if he enjoyed his day in the RDS.

Friends Mark Molloy and Neil Douglas, from Beaumont, were "very happy" after watching Leinster's final match of the season.

Laura O'Connor, from Shankill, and Stuart Ryan, from Stepaside, were cheering for the trio at the end of the match and were also confident that Sexton will be back in two years.

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