THE spearhead of Munster’s Red Army of supporters started arriving in Cardiff last night, having travelled there in planes, cars, ferries and even a small flotilla of yachts.
It’s expected that up to 60,000 Munster supporters could fill the Millennium Stadium tomorrow evening for their Heineken Cup final 5pm kick-off against Toulouse.
The French side will have no more than 4,000 followers cheering them on, but they know they possess a thoroughbred backline capable of wreaking havoc and silencing the Fields of Athenry.
The remaining 10,000 fans in the 74,000 capacity stadium are expected to shout for the Munster team, which is aiming to regain the trophy it won in 2006. The Welsh have taken Munster to their hearts, even in one case at the potential cost of a marriage break-up. Barman Rhys Morris, who was wearing a Munster jersey, said he’d be backing Declan Kidney’s charges.
“My wife Michelle is French. Worse still, she’s from a little village not far from Toulouse. I’ve told her I’m cheering on Munster because we, in south Wales, are very close neighbours to you. Anyway, I like their honest style of game,” he said.
Thousands of fans will pour into the Welsh capital today after getting flights into airports as far away as Newcastle. John Singleton, a 29-year-old auctioneer from Mallow will arrive in Birmingham with an entourage of 20 Munster diehards who are on his stag party weekend.
Among them is the mayor of Mallow, Noel O’Connor, whose daughter Aoife will marry John in July.
“We planned the trip last December, hoping Munster would be in the final, and it worked out great,” John said. “It’s Kidney’s last hurrah, so we’re all rooting for him and the team to pull off a famous victory. I’m hoping for a great stag weekend, a great victory and to top off a great year by marrying Aoife. We’ve been going out for more than 10 years.”
Cardiff has been a happy hunting ground for the French side however, they face a Munster team which many regard as being the best all-round outfit ever to represent the province.
The Red Army will be hoping, by 7pm tomorrow, the coveted trophy is raised aloft for the second time in three years.
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