Munster a gem in Ireland’s rugby crown

The Irish side celebrate with the Six Nations trophy after their home win over Scotland. Photo: Harry Murphy.

IT HAS been a busy and successful time for Limerick rugby with Young Munster’s Calvin Nash and Conor Murray of Garryowen helping steer the Irish rugby side safely to Six Nations glory, and Cookies’ stars Conor Bartley, Alan Kennedy, and David Begley guiding the Ireland Club XV to a narrow 17-20 victory against Portugal A in Lisbon.

On the club scene, there were great celebrations in Dooradoyle following the Light Blues double success within 24 hours.

Their seniors got the better of their keen rivals Cork Constitution on St Patrick’s Day to win a remarkable 40th Munster Senior Cup and their Seconds followed up with a thrilling win over Thomond to lift the Gleeson League Trophy.

It is going to be interesting from here on to see if Ireland coach Andy Farrell will call in some new players for the summer tour of South Africa. Gavin Coombes will surely be in his focus and there could well be a call up for at least one of the other Munster squad.

A special tribute was paid to the late Greig Oliver in the weekend IRFU programme.

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Written by the Examiner’s Simon Lewis, it captured the emotion felt following his tragic death in South Africa last summer.

Greig and his wife Fiona had travelled to support their son Jack who was in the Ireland World Rugby under 20 squad.

Craig Casey was quoted as saying that “Greig is someone I owe a lot to in my career in Munster. He is someone I constantly think of when I run out on the field and I got ‘Greig 09’ on my boots in memory of him.”

The URC returns this weekend with holders Munster on the road to Stadium this evening (Friday). Graham Rowntree’s side tackle 10th placed Ospreys in search of another bonus point win.

Three of our four provinces are all huddled together in the race for the finishing posts with Leinster leading the charge on 44 points, Munster and Ulster joint sixth on 34 and Connacht seventh with 33.