Punters back Reds for 2009

MUNSTER have been installed as favourites to retain their Heineken Cup title next May with thousands of euro placed on Paul O’Connell’s side since Saturday’s victory over French giants, Toulouse.

Bookmaking firm Boylesports received over €10,000 on the province with bets rolling in after Nigel Owens blew the final whistle.

Spokesman Leon Blanche explained: “Boylesports are going 5/1 on Munster retaining the title. The calls started coming in after the game finished and we expect a good few more calls in the coming days.”

Paddy Power spokesman Ken Robertson also reported huge interest: “The phones have been hopping since Saturday night. We’ve taken six grand on Munster to win and we’re quoting them at 4/1 but haven’t opened the book proper as they draw has yet to be made for next season’s pool stages. It just shows the faith that Munster fans have in their team.”

Only one side, Leicester Tigers have won back-to-back trophies, with the English outfit claiming the crown in 2001 and 2002 — the latter at the expense of Munster at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. That wouldn’t be the only reason driving Munster next season. Another title will see them join Tigers and Toulouse as the only sides to have won three crowns since the competition’s inception in 1995.

Ladbrokes are still counting the cost of the weekend. Spokesman Donal McCarthy said: “We will pay out in the region of €200,000 in the Irish market, with the majority of bets down south. The biggest bet we took came around six weeks ago when a punter wagered €5,000 at 6/1. It was a brilliant win for Munster — but not for the bookmakers.”


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