THERE are very few stories from the recent history of the south of Ireland as romantic, as uplifting, and as much high-octane fun, as Munster’s successful plunder-and-pillage raids against the grandees of European and British rugby.
Creating those stories enlivened the region. They also tested — and vindicated — the accuracy of imagined self-worth against stern international benchmarks.
Munster prevailed by sheer, unrelenting doggedness.
This defiance, this default punching above their weight determination, was so enriching and inspiring that rugby’s appeal reached sections of the community once indifferent — if not openly hostile — to the game.
It unifed the province’s sporting public in an utterly unique way and this unprecedented achievement should not be underestimated.
All of that seems so long ago now and those stewarding that daunting legacy are struggling to emulate even the moderate seasons of the brief, flitting glory days.
This of course is inevitable.
Things change, pivotal, once-in-a-lifetime figures move on, and things must be rebuilt.
Opponents gather strength as yours seems to ebb away.
Mistakes are made and organisations tire. Nevertheless, Munster remain very much in credit and deserve continued support.
This seems a moment, one that may stretch over many, many months for anyone who cares for the great tradition to make the anthem — Stand Up and Fight — real and as threatening as it once was.
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