Wednesday 13 December 2017

Leinster on the wrong side of history, this time

Sean Keyes

Sean Keyes
Sean Keyes

Heineken Rugby Club Leinster ambassador Sean Keyes was in Edinburgh to witness Leinster go down to a dominant and deserving Connacht.

With the manner of the win over Ulster last week, I was sure that Leinster would put in a performance against Connacht. However, as I walked through Dublin airport it seemed I was greatly outnumbered with the green of Connacht everywhere I looked.

The crowd on the plane confirmed the number of travelling Connacht fans with about an 80/20 split in terms of jerseys. Touching down in Edinburgh the cabin crew announced ‘May the best team win…. Which is obviously Connacht’. A huge cheer erupted across the plane. Bad omens all round for Leinster it seemed!

I took a quick taxi into Edinburgh, dumped my stuff in the digs and just about had enough time for a pre match Heineken before making my way down to Murrayfield. I was feeling good going into the ground. Surely Leinster, with their cup final experience, could do enough to see off Connacht.

Sitting in the south stand we were lucky to have the sun on our faces. 35,000 supporters, managed to fill a good part of the cavernous Murrayfield stadium. The Leinster fans around me seemed more nervous and this quickly became justified as Connacht made by far the best start, with Tiernan O'Halloran scoring in the 13th minute. When Winger Niyi Adeolokun made it 15-0, Connacht sensed their dreams were going to become a reality.

Half time came and went and I was struggling to see a way back for Leinster. When Matt Healy scored Connacht's third on the hour mark it felt like game over. Something really dramatic would have to happen to see any chance of Leinster pulling this back. Sadly the fightback didn’t materialize and Connacht fans began to party. And in fairness, they deserved it too.

Leinster will need to regroup now put this behind them and focus on rebuilding for next season. This had always felt a bit of a transition season so hopefully Leinster can come back stronger.

After the game we headed to a nearby pub to regroup and discuss the game. Every Leinster fan said that Connacht deserved it. No ill feelings from the Leinster contingent. Connacht have been the best team in the league this season and the trophy is rightly theirs.

As is the way with rugby fans, the night ended with Leinster and Connacht fans arm in arm singing the Fields of Athenry. A suitable end to a day that belonged to the men from the West.

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