THE Munster team will receive a €50,000 welcome home on Leeside after the Heineken Cup final — win or lose.
Cork City Council has agreed to spend the money on a street celebration for what is hoped will be the victorious squad on Tuesday, May 27.
It will be organised along similar lines to the event that took place after the team’s 2006 Heineken Cup victory.
The Munster squad and officials will be accorded a civic reception in City Hall that evening, before taking to a stage which will be erected at Parnell Place. Exact times have yet to be confirmed.
City manager Joe Gavin told councillors on Monday that Munster officials had indicated their availability on that date.
While some councillors urged the manager to seek a contribution from city businesses to help fund the event, Cllr Patricia Gosch said: “Sure we couldn’t even get them to pay for the Christmas lights.”
Labour Cllr Mick O’Connell also asked the manager to look into erecting bunting on St Patrick’s Street to help build atmosphere before the match against Toulouse in Cardiff on Saturday week.
“At this present moment, there is bunting all over the place in Limerick. We should be doing the same,” he said.
Meanwhile, stay-at-home fans in Limerick will be able to watch the match on two big screens, located on O’Connell Street, which will stream live into Millennium stadium.
In 2006 an estimated 20,000 people thronged Limerick city centre to view the game on a single big screen. The scenes from O’Connell Street were flashed on to the stadium screen during the match.
Team captain Paul O’Connell said it had a huge effect on the players. “When I looked up at the stadium screens and saw the sea of red erupting in O’Connell Street, I turned to the lads and said ‘we’ll never be able to face those fans without the cup’. It had a huge psychological effect.”
This year, two screens are being sponsored by Limerick City Council, Limerick County Council, Shannon Development and the Irish Examiner.
It is expected that similar numbers will turn out on May 24 to view the game on the two screens, which will be situated at the junctions of O’Connell Street/Glentworth Street and O’Connell Street/Shannon Street.
Street entertainment will start at 3pm, two hours before kick-off.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved