Parochial, patriotic, protective and passionate.
All attributes that someone out side the magical land of the red army might suggest when the read this article, my colleagues article or indeed the articles of many Munster based sports writers.
But we are a parochial bunch and there’s no denying that. This ethos that holds so strong in the Munster rugby community is built on those very foundations of the parish and its clan like ways. From rugby club to rugby club, we are all little clans that unite to become the force that is Munster Rugby.
Any from the six counties down south is bound to be patriotic. Any from any county within this island of Ireland will be patriotic to the cause – whatever that cause may be as sport transcends every facet of the communities that we live in.
Parents over children, grandparents over grandchildren, family over family – there’s no problem protecting your own and many do it in times of desperation and with no cause for righteousness. Protecting what you have and what you are proud of is an innate instinct in anyone. We will protect our own.
But passionate. That is the attribute, trait or characteristic that makes Munster Munster. I, we or any sports writer could wax lyrically about the passion of their chosen team or indeed the profile team of the day. That is the poetic and literal license that we live in. It’s easy. But to convey the raw passion, the belief in those that stand next to you willing to the stand up and fight, that’s the art. That’s the real piece worth writing and then worth reading. It is only from time to time that we get that. You have to be there to live it. Ask any Munster fan, young or old, fair-weather or hail and they will tell you of just one day that stays with them for ever. Many will tell you several days, countless days or indeed every day that stays with them and then you know what being parochial, patriotic, protective and above all passionate is all about.
Lest we forget days gone by where a trip to France was a wondrous thing. It still is, don’t get me wrong, but there was a time when going to the south of France for a rugby match was a daunting thing for both fan and player alike. More so the player one would suggest.
They’re a passionate bunch down there too. In fact, they’re a passionate bunch throughout France. Comparables could be made to Munster. Maybe that’s where we got it from, but I would have thought it somewhat diluted though as what we have here is a bit more special – it’s probably the concentration of people, the learned man in the terrace or the honesty of appraisal.
Last weekend, Munster travelled to a ground that coughed up a bonus point to the visitors and subsequently became key in the winning of last year’s trophy.
The parishioner in me would say that Munster came away with what was required and asked of them. A bonus point through the six point defeat and injury free to a degree.
The patriot in me would say that the battles in France are always difficult.
The protector in me would urge you to cast your thoughts back to trips to the south of France where all we came away with as a good hiding and our tails between our legs.
But the passionate bones in my body would ache at the thoughts of one missed tackle and a squandered lead from the turn of the half.
That was then and this is now. The now is facing us this Saturday at 15.30 when every passionate bone in our bodies will make sure that the corresponding result of last season is repeated.