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Monday, May 22, 2006

Despite rain, 40,000 turn out for Munster victory parade

There is a great article in the irish times today on the Munster Victory by Barry Roche in Limerick

Jerry Flannerys pub in Limerick after the match.
Photo taken by newswire

The article in full

After some extraordinary odysseys Munster fans proved beyond doubt yesterday that they could never be called sunshine supporters when an estimated 40,000 braved heavy rain to welcome the European Cup champions back to Limerick, writes Barry Roche in Limerick.

The warm sunshine which had bathed O'Connell Street on Saturday when 15,000 fans watched the match on a big screen was replaced by sheeting rain but it did little to deter the enthusiasm of the red-coated, red-capped, flag-waving fans.

Thin Lizzy's The Boys are Back in Town helped get them in a party mood as they waited for the team to arrive at the podium at the top of O'Connell Street following a civic reception at City Hall and a tour of Thomondgate on an open top bus.

The voice of Limerick rugby, commentator Len Dineen, lamented the downpour but captured the mood."Pity about the weather but we don't care - we have the cup."
"Stringer, Stringer, Stringer," chanted the crowd as the team took to the podium and before too long the diminutive hero of Cardiff had been nudged to the front where, with a broad smile, he hoisted the cup over his head.

Dineen tried to get the scrumhalf to discuss his superb try but he got as little change out of him as Biarritz. "My own was only a small part - it was a long trip and we finally reached our destination - this was for the Munster fans," said Stringer modestly.

Coach Declan Kidney was equally modest, confining himself to saying that the team had often been called "bridesmaids". It certainly felt like a honeymoon today, he said.
Fellow Corkman Ronan O'Gara paid tribute the great camaraderie of the team and the boost they got from seeing the O'Connell Street crowd flash up on screen during the game.

Paul O'Connell received perhaps the biggest cheer of the afternoon but the lock was keen to emphasise that it was an all-Munster effort: "we're a six-county team," he said.
When it was the turn of captain Anthony "Axel" Foley to talk, his mobile phone rang twice in quick succession. He had the crowd laughing when he quipped: "It must be Eddie O'Sullivan."
He too was keen to thank the fans. "I don't think we can overstate the support we get from our fans - you can't buy support like that and here today it's been great to bring back some silverware for the people of Munster.

People keep mentioning the holy grail and the end of the journey and all that - it's an insult to this side and their ambition to say we can only win one. We have to look forward, we have to have more days like these - these are brilliant."

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