On a day when Connacht bade farewell to their talisman from Portumna, along comes another farmer’s son from a few miles away on the other side of the River Shannon to lay down a marker and offer hope for the future with hooker Shane Delahunt producing a remarkable display on a day of celebration in Galway.
John Muldoon looks set to remain involved in rugby and having built up considerable coaching experience during his playing career, Connacht supporters will be hoping that the province’s finest player will return in due course when he hangs up his boots in May.
Sixteen seasons and counting now since Connacht have claimed a win in Dublin — and they have never tasted success at the RDS — but they came as close as humanly possible to ending that drought last night without actually getting their lips to water.
It’s a fixture which Connacht have only won four times in 29 meetings but coach Kieran Keane is hoping that Tiernan O’Halloran’s decision to remain at the Sportsground will be the start of a great festive period.
Their PRO14 form is dodgy to say the least, but Connacht’s pedigree in the European Challenge Cup is obvious and on Saturday night they took a big step not only towards securing a quarter-final spot, but ensuring that they will enjoy home advantage in the last eight.
As if interprovincial rivalry was not enough to get the juices flowing in Galway this evening, a controversial Ireland squad announcement is sure to further add to the intensity in both camps as Munster take on Connacht at the Sportsground.
Glasgow are not the first team to come to Galway and deal better with the wind and rain than the home team, but new coach Kieran Keane was anxious not to blame the weather for losing their opening game of the season to the same opposition for the second year in a row.
Sean Cronin opted for a handful of Connacht’s memorable Challenge Cup wins when asked this week for the highlights of his three-year spell in Galway, but it was hard to avoid the feeling that loyalty diverted him from more localised highs.
This time last year Connacht fans were holding their breath in anticipation. Sitting pretty at the top of the table, having only lost five times all season, Connacht were working their way to a first Guinness PRO12 trophy and Champions Cup rugby.