Limerick turns red in homage to Munster rugby heroes

By David Raleigh

Limerick paid homage to its Munster warriors today ahead of their European Cup semi-final showdown in France on Sunday.

Red-coloured water in the historic 19th century O’Connell fountain monument splashed onto the streets, in a scene reminiscent of Spain’s famous La Tomatina tomato-throwing festival.

The hum of excitement continued along O’Connell Street which has been transformed into a red highway of Munster bunting and flags.

Answering the call of their beloved rugby club, natives swapped their suits and uniforms for red jerseys, as a real Friday feeling kicked off a three-day festival of red.

Schools crèches and workplaces were also transformed into a sea of red.

Busy Bees pre-school in Corbally was a hive of red, where 19 potential future Munster stars, led by four-year-old Daniel Doore, paid personal homage to their rugby heroes.

“We are red, we are white, we are super dynamite… Go Munster!” they shouted.

“The Munster lads have the prep done now and if Conway can pull off another try like he did in Toulon, we’ll be in the final for sure,” Campbell said.

“I hope it won't be (Simon) Zebo’s last game and that Keith Earls, our Limerick legend, makes it through unscathed.”

She added: “The Busy Bees crew will be part of the 16th man joining the Munster team, cheering them on, and, no matter what, they have done us proud.”

St Patrick’s Girl’s National School, Dublin Rd, also proudly flew Munster flags.

Die-hard Munster fans travelling to the match also left a red trail as they descended on French ports and airports in their droves.

Christy Marshall, Ballyphehane and John Meere and Colm Marshall, both Grange, at Cork Airport before flying to Bordeaux to support Munster.

Dedicated Red Army recruits Tony and Imelda O’Grady left their home beneath the shadow of Thomond Park at midnight last Friday, to sample the French hospitality a week early.

After travelling by bus to Dublin Airport the couple flew into Carcassonne on their way.

Tony said: “I've hired a car because there is a French rail strike. I'm going to drive to Toulouse, bypassing Agen, and up to Bordeaux, before going back to Carcassonne on Monday evening for the flight home.”

“There’ll be a four-hour stopover in London before arriving back in Dublin, and getting the bus back home beside Thomond Park around 1.15am (Tuesday).”

Thousands more are making similar mammoth strides hoping to see their team reach the final.

“We are Red Army foot soldiers and we know all the tricks of the trade,” Tony joked.

“At 10am (Saturday) I'm heading I'm heading out onto the motorway on the right-hand driving lane. I'm looking forward to putting up a Munster flag up on the car so the French nationals will give me leeway as I progress along the way,” he laughed.

The torch is lit; the journey has begun; and a host of Munster monuments including, Cork City Hall and Limerick’s King John’s Castle, have become beacons of red as Munster fans everywhere pray for victory.

More on this topic

If the playing personnel isn’t going to change at Munster, the game plan must

Van Graan working on plan to join Euro elite

Injured Reds trio will not play unless ‘100% fit’

Johann van Graan looks ahead to Connacht clash as Taute confirms Leicester move

More in this Section

Watch: Shane Long scores the fastest-ever goal in Premier League history

Chelsea Hudson-Odoi to have surgery on ruptured Achilles

Anita Asante: Raheem Sterling is right, football must do more to tackle racism

5 things to know about Crucible giant-killer James Cahill


Lifestyle

GameTech: ‘World War Z’ revives ‘Left 4 Dead’

Stories from a seanachaí at Cork World Book Fest

Ian McEwan's new novel takes on the robots

Hats off to Dali: Exhibition shows largest collection of artist's work in Ireland

More From The Irish Examiner