Well that’s the League done with, more than likely. Time to concentrate on Europe. No doubt that’s been some of the talk among Munster fans since Saturday night’s late reversal to Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.
One could argue that Munster were ‘out-Munstered’ in the final moments of an excellent match when they suffered the fate that they themselves have inflicted on countless oppositions over the years.
In the final play of a pulsating match, Tal Selley crossed the whitewash to break Munster’s magnificent defensive rearguard, which looked set to keep the province’s title ambitions on the tracks.
Ben Blair’s conversion turned a tied fixture into a home win, much to Munster’s evident disappointment. This was one that got away and not many do when it comes to this particular group of players.
Despite having a game in hand on the three teams above them, Munster now stand 11 points adrift of leaders Leinster and time is running out.
While winning the title is not completely out of the question, it’s going to take something pretty spectacular to see Declan Kidney’s side topping the Celtic pile seven games from now.
But as long as Munster remain in the European Cup, there’ll be an additional edge to the league displays which one can’t always rely upon when continental considerations fall by the wayside.
From an Irish perspective, the performance and try-scoring contribution of Paul O’Connell was enormously encouraging.
The skipper, relishing his return to competitive action, will have benefited enormously from this 80 minutes ahead of this weekend’s international.
What will disappoint Kidney most is that his team let an 11-point lead slip in the final quarter. One imagines that such a reversal will be neither repeated nor tolerated between now and the end of the season, whether there’s anything at stake or not.
March 22nd shall see Ulster travel south before another interpro knees-up against Connacht six days later at the Sportsground completes the build-up to the European Cup quarter-final at Gloucester.
Meanwhile in player news, Jeremy Manning is to return to New Zealand at the end of the season while Academy player Sean Cronin is to take up a full-time contract with Connacht.