Good start for Irish provinces in Heineken Cup rugby

A winning start for all 3 Irish provinces in first round of the Heineken European Cup. Ulster [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/irish/6073066.stm]beat 3 times winners Toulouse[/url], Leinster [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/6073746.stm]beat Guinness Premiership side Gloucester[/url] and the holders Munster [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/my_club/leicester/6058294.stm]beat twice winners Leicester.[/url]

Munster out-half Ronan O’Gara caused some controversy during the week when he was reported to say that the English Guinness Premiership and players were [url=http://sport.guardian.co.uk/rugbyunion/comment/0,,1924002,00.html]over-hyped and over-rated[/url]. With 7 out of 8 Magners Celtic League teams winning and 5 out of 6 Guinness Premiership teams losing, he has yet to be proved wrong.

In the second tier European Challenge Cup, Connacht [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/my_club/connacht/6071936.stm]lost to Harlequins.[/url]

  • Martin

    When the Irish national team wins something more than the Triple Crown I’ll sit up and take notice. I’ll admit England’s form of the last two ang a half years has been woeful but when will Ireland (as opposed club sides – hats off to Munster and Ulster) actually WIN anything? When was the last time Ireland won the 5N/6N? 1985. 21 years is a long time to wait for a supposedly superior rugby nation.

    The attitude every season appears to be “so long as we beat England it’s a good year” which is why the whole thing is just, well, not worth the effort.

  • willowfield

    Anyone know why “The Fields of Athenry” was played before the Ulster match yesterday?

  • lonely pint

    anyone care?

  • páid

    Erm, well I do, a bit.

    Athenry deals with emigration from the poor lands of Connacht.

    Glasgow Celtic, given their history, have some claim on it.

    But Munster rugby fans, boring bandwagon ignoramus sales reps from Mallow, who are SUCH crack, MAD entirely, should surely come up with a song of their own.

    And as for good Proddy legal clerks from Bangor, I’d have hoped for better………

  • George

    Those Scottish Presbyterians from Liverpool FC in the English Premiership have also adapted the song for themselves.

    Outrageous that a song that seems ideally suited for terrace singing and atmosphere building should be played at a sporting event.

    What are they thinking of at Ravenhill and Anfield?

  • “a supposedly superior rugby nation.”

    Supposedly superior to who exactly?

  • slug

    Cue Willowfield: “to whom”.

  • ah whom give’s a fucks!

  • Mick Fealty

    Willow,

    It’s a bit of a rugby anthem. It’s also what gets the London Irish fans (I could be wrong but they seem to be mostly English born these days) going at home matches.

    Eddie Butler in the Observer today noted that the playing schedule for the Irish provinces are extremely light, and the playing pool very concentrated. Top rank players may also be encouraged by the fact the IRFU aren’t keen on picking Irish players who play abroad.

    Martin is on to something when he notes that the international team is still in the poor place compared to our English rivals. That surely has to be a reflection of the strength in depth of the Premiership. We just concentrate all our talent in four three teams.

    Maca,

    Stop grumping!

  • Michael Robinson

    There could have been some legal issues with Munster fans singing The Fields Of Athenry as [url=http://www.theeastterrace.com/cupfinal.shtml]this article reveals.[/url]

  • Mick
    “Stop grumping!”

    I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. (that’s a new word for me, “grumping”, Northern is it? Or English?)

  • Mick Fealty

    I may have been in England too long, but I think I have it from my Holywood days (and nights)!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Good to see the White Knights of Ulster hammering the French Frogs of Toulouse! It was particularly pleasing to see an ex-Coleraine Inst pupil, Andrew Trimble, who was in my year at school, score two brilliant tries!

  • willowfield

    Fear not!

    I have received clarification about the playing of “The Fields of Athenry” at Ravenhill on Saturday.

    Apparently it was just some band playing it in the beer tent.

  • tony

    Major crisis for loyalism now over !!!!!!