|Shame on the Lunsters|
|Ranting on Sport|
|Written by Brian O'Farrell|
|Thursday, 30 April 2009|
Today is my brother's birthday, so I gave him a call this morning to wish him well. Whilst on the phone, he informed me that our Mother has being shamed into wearing Blue this Saturday, by Brian O'Driscoll's plea for the Leinster born to cheer for Leinster.
O'Driscoll's comments were at the end of an article putting provincial rivalry to one side, as he shared his commiserations with O'Leary for missing out on the Lions tour. But the plea itself was,
The plea came after the former Leinster & Ireland loosehead, Reggie Corrigan wrote an article in the Irish edition of the Sunday Times. So I went online searching for the Lunster article, with little joy, first I'd find out which paper it was. Which turned out to be the Sunday Times, but whilst it was not in the English edition of the paper, which as it happens, I bought. It was also not online, which only contains the English content.
But on the Babbling Brook, a Leinster fans forum, I was able to find out which paper and later through the pages someone has typed out the article, which is below through the read more.
I understand that Munster have the greater history, and for my Mother's generation (her sister also supports Munster) the 1978 victory over the All Blacks was a remarkable event in Irish rugby history, if not world rugby history. That All Blacks side completed a Grand Slam of the Northern Hemisphere, but failed to come away from Thomond Park with a win.
But I will say this, I am born & bred in Dublin, and I proudly support Leinster rugby, and always cheer Irish sides whoever they play.
Forget D4 forget claims about being soft, and just support your own.
PROVINCE'S HUGE SUCCESS CREATES A STRANGE HYBRID FAN
I'll never forget the hype and the mania and the scramble for tickets before the Leinster v Munster semi-final three years ago.. There was talk back then that if only the GAA would open up Croke Park, we'd have had no trouble filling it. Well, three years on, and it's actually happened - and there still arent enough tickets. I've been scrounging around same as everyone else. It's a pain, but it's also wonderful. The rivalry between two great teams and two fantastic groups of supporters is at the heart of what has made Irish rugby great. There's just one problem. Munster's fantastic success in the past few years has spawned a mutant breed of rugby fan - the Lunsters. They are born, bred, living and working in Leinster but they have turned their back on their own and decided to support the men in red.
I can hear already their yelps of self-satisfaction: Everyone is entitled to support the team of their choice. Yes, but only within reason. Of all the arguments I've had with these people over the years - and I've had plenty, believe me- I've never been convinced. Whenever I've questioned their lack of loyalty to their province their response has always been the same. Munster are more passionate than Leinster. You're all soft up there in D4. Leinster the Ladyboys. And so on. This is their belief and they cling to it for dear life. The only problem is it isnt remotely based on fact.
For starters, if they'd any real knowledge of the current Leinster squad, they'd know that it's only relationship to Dublin 4 is the location of the stadium. Bernard Jackman comes from Carlow, Shane Horgan and Devin Toner come from Meath, Jamie Heaslip's from Kildare. Gordon D'Arcy's from Wexford. Rob Kearney's from Louth, Leo Cullen and Luke Fitzgerald from Wicklow. Brian O'Driscoll's a northsider but we'll forgive him that. Then, along with the scattering of imports there are Dubs like Shane Jennings, Girvan Dempsey and Malcolm O'Kelly - none of whom come from D4.
And you want to talk about passion? Who had the more passion in 2001 whan we beat Munster in the first Celtic League final, despite playing most of the game with 14 men? Who had it in Musgrave and the RDS last season? Who had it on New Year's Eve 2005? And dont tell me these victories dont count just because they were 'only' the Magners League.
Whatever excuse they make for themselves, the basic truth about Lunsters is that they've hopped on the Munster bandwagon simply because they want to follow a winning side - just like those Manchester United from four or five years ago who were soon seen wearing Chelsea jersies when it suited them. I know their existence galls the many thousands of true blue Leinster supporters, who'll make themselves seen and heard at Croker next Saturday. And the Lunster should know that they also gall the genuine Munster fans. The cling-ons bolster crowds and jersey sales but they also deny the real supporters tickets for marvellous occasions like this one.
I've come to the conclusion that Lunsters are basically cowardly. They dont have the courage to stand up and shout for their own province because they're terrified of being branded soft by association with Leinster. But better, I say, to suffer the possibility of indignity and still be able to look at yourself in the mirror.
Here's another way of looking at it. just say Leinster achieved a Munster-like success over the next five years. Can you imangine some fella in Bruff sitting on a bar stool in a blue jersey shouting 'Gwan Drico'? Only if he had a death wish.
The game itself? It will be epic, a brilliant day for Irish rugby. Munster will be favourites, and rightly so. Just a word of warning for their followers both genuine and blow-in - remember the value of the underdog tag. As I see it the game will be all about pace and tempo. The way Leinster dogged out a result in Harlequins was very impressive - and disproved all the Ladyboy stuff once again. But they wont beat Munster in a war of attrition. Munster are too good at that. But Leinster need to have a go.
It's not as if they're short on attacking talent. Look at that backline and all those Lions. With all that ability, it's almost criminal to ask Leinster backs to spend their day just kicking, chasing and tackling. They need to produce some of the old magic. This will be a close game in all likelihood, probably decided by something special. Why shouldn't it come from Leinster?
While Leinster back themselves to go toe-to-toe with Munster, I hope they also back their game-breakers and give them a chance. Even if it doesnt work out at least they'll know they had a cut. That way, they can give their supporters something of which to be proud.
As for the Lunsters, I just wish someone with style and talent would design you a special jersey for the occasion, half-red and half-blue. Then whenever the television cameras alight, you could turn to one side and shout for whoever is winning.