Heartache for Munster in Clermont
Munster made a gallant effort this evening as they aimed to reach another Heineken Cup final.
In the week leading up to the game few gave Munster a chance, and others felt that the game would be a walk over for Clermont – they were wrong. Clermont have a fantastic team, full of internationals and many felt that Munster would not stand a chance against the French giants.
O’Gara scored a penalty in the first few moments of the game, but Clermont responded almost immediately with Nalaga try, which Parra converted.
Parra scored two more penalties before the first half ended and saw score at 13-3 in their favour.
Parra scored another penalty almost immediately into the second half which saw the score brought to 16-3, and for some it looked as if the game was over.
Munster however didn’t give up and fought extremely hard. Their hard work and determination was eventually rewarded when O’Gara kicked the ball in the right hand corner for Hurley to to go over for a try. The score was than 16 – 10 and the game was well and truly on.
The last few minutes of the game were gripping. With just two minutes to go O’Connell was unfairly judged to pass the ball forward, and the chance was lost. Clermont won the penalty in the scrum and the game was theirs.
As Clermont players were hugging each other and celebrating reaching their first final, the Munster players looked heartbroken. Throughout the game the Clermont fans were fantastic and I am sure they will paint Dublin town yellow in a few weeks.
The tears from the men in red show how much the jersey and competition means to them. Munster showed up, and did their province and country proud. Their determination is something that any rugby coach, would love to have. Anyone watching the aftermath of the loss could see how crestfallen the players were, and how much they love the game. Their passion and their never say die attitude, is nothing short of incredible.
So as Munster bow out of the competition they can hold their heads up high and be very proud of themselves. The experience the younger lads on the team gained today will stand to them, and they will learn from this defeat. Munster will be back again next season, and will be more determined and hungry for some silverware, and I for one cannot wait. MHUMHAN ABU.