Friday 24 January 2020

Paul O'Shaughnessy: 'When the Munster Haka started it put goosebumps on goosebumps'


The Munster Haka was one of the most iconic images from the province’s clash against New Zealand back in 2008. Photo: Sportsfile
The Munster Haka was one of the most iconic images from the province’s clash against New Zealand back in 2008. Photo: Sportsfile

1. What was your first Munster Rugby match?

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It was a home Heineken Cup match versus Montauban... It was close enough and their No 9 was handy enough but we got the W in the end and I was bitten by the love bug from there on out!

2. What Munster game sticks out in your memory and why?

There can only be one. The All Blacks game in 2008. I have been to some of the most iconic arenas in the world, from the Nou Camp to Madison Square Gardens, Wembley to Anfield, or the Olympic Stadium in Munich and they are all incredible spots in their own right.

But the roar that night in Thomond when the Munster Haka started it put goosebumps on goosebumps. Absolutely indescribable. I know the 1978 match has its own resonance, and rightly so, but this was something special.

3. What current Munster player do you looking forward to watching?

CJ Stander without a doubt. Gives 110 per cent in every game. I can hardly ever remember anyone saying he had a bad game. He's a man that has full on immersed himself in Munster and it's wonderful to see.

4. Describe the most memorable Munster score you've seen?

Northampton with those 41 million phases as per Michael Corcoran on the radio that night. I thought it would never end! The palpitations were through the roof that night. What a finish with a drop goal from heaven to win it.

5. You're given a blank cheque to sign any player in the world. Who would it be?

All the Barrett's if viably possible! Would make a great team even better. Or there might be a few Sarries lads available these days. Imagine a Football Manager game but with a rugby for thought!

6. Earliest rugby memory?

That Ciaran Fitzgerald speech. Since then I've immersed myself in the psychology side of the game and loved the responses to the Haka, for example.

7. Where do you sit or stand in Thomond Park?

Season ticket in the East Stand for the last ten years although I was on the terrace for a bit - I need to sit down these days! I do miss the terrace though if I'm being honest. Although you get to take it in a bit more in the stands, if that makes any sense.

8. Which overseas player that represented the province is or was your favourite?

Dougie Howlett without question. Absolute icon. Another man that got what Munster is all about. Honourable mention to Jean de Villers and what he brought to the province.

9. What is your favourite away ground?

The Sportsground! What a buzz. Nothing like it. Even watching it on TG4 you can't help but get sucked in. Win lose or draw you have the Galway nightlife after so it's not all bad!

10. What player from another Irish province do you admire?

If I had to pick one I'd say Bundee Aki - another man that leaves it all on the pitch and a great ambassador for the game.

11. What is your favourite Munster jersey and what does it remind you of?

They had a black and red one a while back and it was unreal but of course I had it and it went missing. To be honest, it's rare there was a black alternate kit so it stood out. I know a lot of fans are clamouring for the Canterbury days again but some of the Adidas stuff has been just as good.

12. What team in any other sport other than Munster Rugby do you follow?

Liverpool (for my sins) and Barcelona (a bit less taxing). Honourable mention to the Patriots.

13. What game in Munster's history would you love to go back to and attend?

All Blacks 2008 again. There was just something in the air that night that you can't really put into words. Failing that I'd pick Cardiff 2006 and that Strings try. I was at a Bon Jovi gig that day (I know, I know!)

14. You have one wish for Munster this season. What is it?

Silverware please! And a good showing for the lads in the Six Nations. I'd also love to see more of the academy lads breaking through, making a name for themselves.

15. Invite three Munster players past or present to dinner. Who would you bring?

Fla to talk about the rap circuit (C.R.E.A.M.). Strings to talk about his meeting with Kanye West. And Paulie if anything goes wrong!

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