Mixed weekend for Irish rugby…

It began on Friday, when Ulster try as they might could not quite grasp the Celtic league title, and instead where run to a 12 – 12 standstill. Contrast that with the pure bliss of Munster’s first European Cup bone crunching win in Cardiff on Saturday (“There was so much noise in the stadium we had a problem with communication” – Biarritz captain Thomas Lievremont). And spare a thought for the London Irish (which contains few actual Irish players since re-organisation of the provincial teams), who on Sunday just lost out on Rugby’s equivalent of the UEFA Cup in extra time.

  • Donnie

    That’s a great photo of Stringer above. He’s come in for a lot of criticism in the 6 Nations this year but he was class on Saturday.

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    Irish by birth- Munster by the grace of god. I’ve never been so proud in my life. well done Cúige Mumhan.

  • Overhere

    Irish by birth London for my sins Never fear London-Irish we will get them next year. well done Munster shame on you BBC1 NI for not showing the match

  • GrassyNoel

    I am proud to say I was there to witness it, and it was sheer class. My voice/throat is still recovering. And hats off to Biarritz who made a great game of it, especially in the second half, even if their first try was iffy, sure that’s par for the course as a Munster supporter. And it was fantastic for Stringer to have scored, given that he must have been haunted for the last 4 years by what happened in the same stadium with that famous put-in in 2002, i.e. Neil Back’s ‘Hand of Satan’.

    Now all I need is for Kerry to win the All-Ireland SFC, someone to stop Cork from getting their three in a row(preferably a county who hasn’t won it more than 25 times) in Hurling and the perfect sporting year is complete!

  • Teaser

    Watched BBC World Sport avidly for the Heiniken Cup Final but there was not even a mention let alone a clip. No English team in the final so no interest in frogs or paddies I suppose.

  • Mick Fealty

    All links above are to the BBC – including the picture.

  • Michael Robinson

    “shame on you BBC1 NI for not showing the match”

    “Shame” has got nothing to do with it. Two years ago Sky bought the UK broadcast rights for live Heineken Cup games until the 2009/2010 season. Sky has also bought the Republic of Ireland rights from next season until 2009/2010 as well.

    I can understand the frustration of people that want to see the final on terrestrial TV but for the dedicated fan, Sky has more live rugby and analysis than the BBC ever did.

    ps. I was at all 3 games mentioned above – went to Llanelli on Friday night for the Ulster game, Cardiff on Saturday for the HEC final and back to London (where I live) for the LI game. I’ll be back in Wales next Friday cheering on Ulster v the Ospreys for the Celtic League decider.

  • Overhere

    Michael….showoff LOL So what do you do for a living and don’t tell me you are a rugby correspondent for some paper

    sorry but could not sell my soul to SKY

  • Has yer man got filed teeth ?

  • Munster simply class.
    Now Tipp for the All-Ireland and may sporting year is rounded off.

  • SpiceGirls

    how poor has the coverage been for ulster ospreys this fri night? The celtic league is the second most important rugby competition after the european cup, and ulster have a tremendous chance of winning it. Instead BBC and UTV want to show dicky games from the Irish league and Gaelic games. Rugby is the only professional game played in Nortern Ireland, and we should all be proud of the effort the lads have put it.
    C’mon Ulster!

  • Michael Robinson

    “Instead BBC and UTV want to show dicky games from the Irish league and Gaelic games”

    The situation is the same as the BBC and live HEC coverage – the BBC and UTV don’t have live TV broadcast rights for Celtic League games.

    Live Celtic League TV broadcast rights are owned by Setanta, BBC Wales and S4C (with BBCW and S4C covering games involving the Welsh teams)

    You can receive S4C and BBCW if you have Sky but Setanta is usually a subscription channel.

    I don’t know if BBC NI or UTV put in a bid for live broadcast rights, but even if they did, they didn’t win and as they don’t have rights, they can’t show live games.

    All but one or two Ulster games this season have been broadcast live on Setanta/BBCW/S4C and you would never get this degree of coverage on terrestrial TV.

    And if you don’t want to pay for Setanta/Sky – you can always go to a pub and watch the game there…

    I’m in London and we have a growing group of Ulster exiles here that get together on a regular basis to watch Ulster games here.

  • Ex Pat Pat

    Was at the London Irish game, so pretty disappointed about that result, after a great season.

    Have to say though that the couple of ill-informed comments about the BBC/ITV above only serve to demonstrate what a frustration politics/debate can be on this otherwise great blog when you have people shooting off their mouths when they don’t even know the basic facts of the situation.

    At least on this occasion we’re only talking about rugby television rights.

  • Henry94

    Half-time: New Zealand 8-16 Ireland. Dare we hope?

  • DCB

    Yes, it’s looking good now

  • DCB

    Maybe not

    Gutted

    Still encouraging for the world cup