Saturday, 6 October 2018

October Spooktacular at the Aviva

October. The month of the witching hour, ghouls, and the biggest Thriller since 1983: Leinster V Munster. 

Every year the Aviva stands like a bubbling cauldron, releasing magical experiences for all who are immersed inside. Since 2010 the Aviva has played host with attendances averaging over 46,000, a prestigious number for an inter-pro, one of which rivals that of a test game.
With numbers aside, the anticipation and rivalry of the annual clash seems to have simmered in recent years, so what has changed?

Not the competitiveness for starters. The game itself will hopefully bring a flurry of tries and tribulations, the annual meeting has been dominated by Leinster in the last few seasons but with Munster devouring Ulster at home last week, it would be prudent to think that this year would be in Leinster's favour. 

Unfortunately the crowd-pleaser that most wanted to see will not be happening. With Sexton a no-show this evening, the much sought after dual with Carbery will have to be postponed for another occasion. European rugby fixtures commence in less than a week and the priority to rest certain players has become paramount. The iconic picture of Sexton aggressively shouting in Ronan O' Gara's face has now been eclipsed by the dream of European glory. Leinster have decided to change 11 players from their win over Connacht, resting players such as Furlong, Larmour and Ringrose, something that would have been unheard of back in 2009 for this particular fixture with Munster.

Leinster veteran Rob Kearney hits a landmark tonight with his 200th cap for his province, with Luke McGrath on the bench hopefully earning his centennial.  
 A strong Munster side are locked and loaded with Stander and Beirne starting and O' Mahoney at the helm. The try-scoring machine Dan Goggin who put two past a deflated Ulster starts also, a dangerous man to have on the field, no doubt Leinster will be watching their backs. 

With four wins out of five for Leinster and three out of five for Munster so far this season in the Pro14, the odds seem to be in Leinster's favour but no matter how civil the relationship between both provinces has become, the rivalry for bragging rights will always come ahead of the game, Munster are due a win and Leinster know this, without a doubt there will be fireworks aplenty tonight.

LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Rory O’Loughlin, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Michael Bent; Devin Toner, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock (C), Dan Leavy, Seán O’Brien.

Replacements: Seán Cronin, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Mick Kearney, Josh van der Flier, Luke McGrath, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney.
MUNSTER: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Sammy Arnold, Dan Goggin, Keith Earls; Joey Carbery, Alby Mathewson; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (C), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Ciaran Parker, Billy Holland, Chris Cloete, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Rory Scannell.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU).

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Nation Holds It's Breath... Well for the Next Four Weeks Anyway

Italia '90: David O'Leary's penalty kick and Packie Bonner's iconic save, Jackie Charlton's heroic army brought our little nation to a standstill and George Hamilton's words would forever be immortalised in the beating hearts of every Irish man, woman and child, "A Nation Holds It's Breath..." The day that saw Ireland go through to the quarter finals of a World Cup.

Tomorrow, a different type of World Cup will embark upon us. Unlike the aforementioned, Irish Rugby is no stranger to reaching a quarter final, from 1987-2011 (apart from 2007 where Ireland where eliminated in the pool stages) Ireland have never progressed passed a quarter final.

Nothing to be ashamed of, of course, but having reached a historic ranking of 2nd in the world this year and now currently ranked 6th after two defeats to Wales and England, the big exam question needed answering is, can the class of 2015 graduate to a semi-final position or will Groundhog Day come to snarl at Ireland's World Cup dreams yet again?

Looking at Ireland's current form, they have been exceptional under Joe Schmidt's reign. The Schmidt Era has seen Ireland win back to back six nation championships but recent warm up games have shown slight disorganisation amongst the ranks, still no reason to panic, some say it may be a ploy to throw the opposition off the scent or as a precautionary to avoid any injuries or maybe Ireland just take that little bit longer to gel together, whatever it is, one thing is certain, there will be no more warm up games and Ireland need to utilise their match time against Canada and Romania to find their feet.

With all this in mind, who will be the key players for Ireland in the hunt for world cup glory? Sexton for starters that's who. If Sexton were to be compared to a chessboard piece it would be the Queen, Sexton is versatile, powerful and lethal, a useful mastermind to winning any game, but there's a catch, this mostly happens when Sexton is not on flying form, anything less than 100% from the number 10 and the process as a whole becomes flawed, cracks can be seen in the Irish play, and dynamics change. Checkmate.

Not to say that Ireland winning a game is based on Sexton's level of play alone, it's not, and the pressure to guide a game must be truly phenomenal, Sexton cannot do it alone however, step forward captain Paul O' Connell, the powerhouse of the Irish rugby team, he is set to become the only Irish player to have played in four world cups, ever the professional, the Munster lock provides stability to the pack, he digs deep, if ever there was a player to nearly break his own body in half for the sake and love of the game, it's O'Connell, his tackling ability is scary and sometimes he uses other players as human battering rams (remember Zebo) in order to break down the opposition's defence, his only flaw might be that on occasions he can't keep his hands out of a ruck, but like a kid with a cookie jar, if nobody notices and you can get away with it, is anybody really going to tell?

A third set piece who stands out is veteran Rory Best, a cog in the wheels of motion that keep the Irish team going forward, this forward seems to get better each year, who could forget the time he cleared out a ruck with a broken arm against New Zealand, for a Hooker he has pace, a trait that has seen him crash down over the whitewash on numerous occasions, the Poyntzpass native is like a jack of all trades, good at scrum time, gets around the field of play in epic fashion and has overcome injuries time and time again to be one of Ireland's notable players of all time. Stand Up for the Ulsterman.

The only and maybe most important flaw that Best could carry to the world cup (and let's hope not) is his ball handling skills, sometimes Irish lineouts suffer if he can't get his head in the game, opposing teams can feed off on this and many a lineout can be lost, losing out on advantage gained previously towards the try line.

These three giants of Irish rugby along with the other 28 chosen warriors could potentially help lead Ireland through to their best world cup to date, a hard task and something we, as a nation will fully get behind, one thing is for sure though, if Ireland do successfully reach the quarter final stage, this country, whether from holding it's breath or in mourning, is going to be turning some sort of shade of blue.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

"Rugby, a game for thugs played by gentlemen"...unfortunately Those certain few who support are not the latter.

 This has been an issue for quite some time. It raised its ugly head a few years back and  has continued to worm it's way into the lives of those who live for rugby, racial slurs, player abuse and booing have become the epicentre surrounding those who allegedly label themselves "real fans".  Professional rugby players are so called because they get paid to play rugby, at the end of the day it is their job, yet if they make a slip up people make it their business to harass, name call, abuse and annoy the player.

Put it into context, if you made an error in work you may get a small slap on the hand from the boss but you certainly don't have to put up with abuse from thousands of irate twitter trolls who think they'll get a reaction from calling someone a disgusting name.

One could argue that they are in limelight and shouldn't set up a Facebook or Twitter account if they don't want themselves open to such abuse, but they are normal people who do their job the same as everyone else, with sport there will always be highs and lows and that is the beauty of rugby, the unpredictability of it is what makes us sit on the edge of our seats in wonder and awe at how a game can have a complete turnover within the dying seconds of the ticking clock.

 A handling error by Jamie Heaslip in the dying seconds against Northampton certainly did not warrant a barrage of abuse, and in most circumstances, from his own "fans". The language used is not one to be repeated but calling someone "fat", "slow" and "useless" while you have your own derrière parked on your own couch is cowardly, if you think that about a player, why not address him face to face and have your say?

With the majority of people signed up to at least one social networking site, it is now easier to have access to a player than ever before and for some they see this as a safety net for their abuse. You would have to have been living underground this Summer not to have witnessed "BODgate" when Brian O'Driscoll was dropped by Lions coach Warren Gatland for the third test during the Lions Tour. Within seconds of this news hitting the fans, a media frenzy ensued; the storm in a teacup became well and truly stirred and blown out of proportion, with a whirlwind of abuse against both O'Driscoll and Gatland.

For some fans, they expressed their sadness for O'Driscoll because in their eyes they witnessed a legend at his lowest point but others took it that step further, abusive and racial comments were thrown about between nations, nations that were supposedly united as one were now fighting like teenage girls over who the best looking One Direction boy is, this didn't just include the fans, pundits had their fair share to say too.

Irish fans not only set upon Gatland with threats but also decided to have a go at Jonathan Davis by threatening to break his legs, an innocent bystander whose only crime was being given the number thirteen jersey. Welsh fans were not so innocent either, recently O'Driscoll made light of the fiasco in a tweet after Mirror Football had tweeted that he'd been sacked as manager of Bristol football club, Brian retorted with "Next thing I know I won't be playing for Wales against Australia this weekend!" Some saw the funny side of this as it was the same week that Ireland had lost to New Zealand and Brian picked fun at the fact that his week couldn't get any worse, it may have even been a jibe at the media, however for others though they saw this as a smart comment, it may well have been but it did not warrant one welsh fan tweeting O'Driscoll and calling him a "bitterc**t", a d**k and a c**k but when challenged by other twitter users, he retracted back into his shell saying he thought O'Driscoll was a legend. As individuals we are entitled to an opinion but hurtful language is not an opinion, it's abuse.

It is not just social networks were these plastic fans cultivate. The Leinster Vs Northampton Saints at the Aviva Stadium on the 14th December 2013 brought out the worst of them. One cannot accuse the Leinster fans for booing because a real Leinster fan stays quiet and respectful when the opposition's kicker is going for the posts, a real Leinster fan does not goad his/her own players while they fight for 80 minutes against a team who are hungry to save face and restore pride after a gruelling defeat the previous week, and a real Leinster fan does not abuse the referee, some calls may not have been the most appropriate but to win a match you must put that aside and up your game. These fans are quite literally "Event" fans, as in, they show up at bigger matches or finals and reap the rewards that Leinster give them and if Leinster lose they see it fit to throw abuse at players and management, after all, they didn't pay "€75 a ticket to watch a load of sh*te and should have stayed at home!" So why didn't you then?? Real fans pay up to and over €420 for a season ticket, they sit in the freezing cold clutching a hot cup of coffee screaming on the lads, they celebrate every try as if it were a cup final and they never leave before the final whistle. 

This has only touched the tip of the iceberg but for every Twitter troll or plastic fan out there, there are ten real fans who see a match day as a family day out, a chance to welcome visitors from other parts of the globe and show them hospitality, sport is there to be enjoyed, with the fans of both teams respecting each other and having respect for those who are putting their bodies on the line playing week in week out for their team, to put it simply by quoting a famous Welsh referee

"This is not soccer".

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Lions See Red

With just four days between two games, Gatland's Lions will once again roar into battle, this time against the Queensland Reds, captained by legendary Quade Cooper, who left many shocked when he was not selected to be part of the Australian Wallabies team to face the Lions in two weeks time. Cooper is without doubt a master at his game, he is a terrific service man to the Reds and has been all season, he aids in their success having played  tremendously at number 10 for the majority of his team's matches. Having played with the Reds since he was 15 years old, Cooper is no stranger to the club, he oozes vitality and leadership and is said to be honoured with the captaincy. He will no doubt have looked back on the previous games that the Lions have played and with experience and strategic implementation could prove a threat to the Lions, a dangerman in the field like this will mean that the Lions will need to up their tactics.

Along with Cooper also starts 9 capped Australian players, this Reds team want to make history by being the first provincial team to beat a touring Lions team since 1971, if they succeed they will be deemed heroes in their own right and will will put a severe dent in the Lion's plans to come back to the Northern Hemisphere undefeated Down Under. The Lions team with the exception of Rob Kearney have all had a chance to show Gatland why they were selected to go to Australia, Sam Warburton captains the side tomorrow and it goes without saying that it will be Last Chance Saloon for many of them. Competition for test positions has never been more of a headache and if Gatland doesn't see consistency within players then they may say goodbye to starting in two weeks.

With injury stricken Cian Healy cleared of all biting allegations, it all ended bitter sweet when a scan on his ankle clarified that it would be the end of his Lions tour and putting him on a flight back home this Sunday. With Gethin Jenkins cautioned after it was revealed that he was suffering from tightness in his calf, it looks as though Mako Vunipola will start tomorrow and it's believed that Glasgow Warrior's Ryan Grant will be flown in to replace the injured Healy. Both Bowe and Tuilagi will once again start against the Reds after playing Western Force on Tuesday. Bowe scored a fine try but still looks to be a little sluggish since returning from injury, in previous matches in the Pro12 and recently in the Pro12 final, his usual encounters with the high balls have not been pristine, knock ons have occured once to often and mistakes like that tomorrow may give the Reds something to ponder on. Tuilagi on the other hand is going from strength to strength, his partnership with O'Driscoll was poetry in motion, his offloads immaculate and tomorrow sees him in the centre with Davies, both players possess animalistic qualities, a dog eat dog approach to rugby and will tyrannically destroy all opposition that get in thie way.

Tomorrow Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane will be the awash with 40,000 plus Reds fans cheering on their beloved team. Just like Moses led his people, so too will Quade Cooper, although parting the Red Sea that will come crashing down on him and his fourteen men may prove a little more difficult!

St.George Queensland Reds
1. Ben Daley (58 Reds - 3 Wallabies)
2. James Hanson (50 Reds - 1 Wallabies)
3. Greg Holmes (103 Reds - 13 Wallabies)
4. Adam Wallace-Harrison (vc) (32 Reds)
5. Ed O’Donoghue (40 Reds)
6. Eddie Quirk (27 Reds)
7. Beau Robinson (35 Reds - 1 Wallabies)
8. Jake Schatz (47 Reds)
9. Nick Frisby (16 Reds)
10. Quade Cooper (c) (87 Reds - 38 Wallabies)
11. Luke Morahan (44 Reds - 1 Wallabies)
12. Anthony Faingaa (58 Reds - 23 Wallabies)
13. Ben Tapuai (38 Reds - 7 Wallabies)
14. Rod Davies (43 Reds - 1 Wallabies)
15. Ben Lucas (60 Reds)

16. Albert Anae (15 Reds)
17. Sam Denny (Queensland debut)
18. Jono Owen (Queensland debut)
19. Radike Samo (32 Reds - 23 Wallabies)
20. Jarrad Butler (12 Reds)
21. Jono Lance (18 Reds)
22. Mike Harris (30 Reds - 8 Wallabies)
23. Dom Shipperley (33 Reds - 8 Wallabies)

British & Irish Lions
15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
14. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
13. Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers/England)
12. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales)
11. Tommy Bowe (Ulster/Ireland)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)

1. Makovina Vunipola (Saracens/England)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
3. Matt Stevens (Saracens/England)
4. Richie Gray (Scotland)
5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers/England)
6. Dan Lydiate (Dragons/Wales)
7. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
8. Tangaki Taulupe Faletau (Dragons/Wales)

16. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)
17. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England)
18. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
19. Paul O'Connell (Munster/Ireland)

20. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland)
22. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)
23. George North (Scarlets/Wales

Thursday, 6 June 2013

O' Driscoll keeps his Pride while Leigh is worth every (Half)Penny and Healy bites off more than he can chew!

OK let's be frank, the first two games for the British and Irish Lions has not been much more than a stretch of the limbs for a majority of the players, yes, it has been two high scoring wins for the Lions but come the first test, these boys will need to remember that it won't be second string cubs they will be playing like those of Western Force, who by any recognition gave a valiant effort against a star studded Lions side led by Brian O' Driscoll. 

The Force was with Western briefly at times, they managed to sneak 17 points passed the Lions but their lack of discipline and a vacant defence line meant that the Lions pushed forward with intensity to hack up 69 points onto the scoreboard, when looking at this one may think this is a cause for celebration but realistically, the Lions were expected to go over the centennial mark, especially playing such a weakened side. Key players from the Force team were apparently resting for a Super Rugby clash against the Waratahs, inexperienced youths stood in their places instead, talk about being thrown in at the deep end.

However, with Captain Drico at the helm, he kept his cool and showed exactly why this is his fourth tour, going over the try line not once but twice. Anyone would be convinced that this man could quite literally find a needle in a haystack the way he finds and utilises space, his first try contained all the ingredients necessary to show that even with men outside his vicinity he confidently went it alone, crashing into the corner, using every inch to guarantee his teammates and the crowd that the number 13 is still etched firmly on his back, well, for the time being anyway. It kills me to say this but he was unfortunately, non-existent up until that try, something you don't want on a tour when you are a veteran like O'Driscoll, especially with fresh meat like Davies breathing down your neck, sniffing at the chance for a test match start or two.

Speaking of fresh, young, talented Welshmen, the highlight of the game was Leigh Halfpenny's stunning ability to kick from any direction he was given. He kicked 11 from 11, not even breaking a bead of sweat in the process, very different circumstances I'm sure for Sexton and Farrell who must be sweating buckets after watching the Cardiff Blues fullback hammer each kick neatly over the posts with grace. Halfpenny is possibly one of Europe's finest fullbacks and even with Rob Kearney injured he could still be the number one to start all three test matches, he truly is a prodigy and the fans really get their money's worth watching his raw talent and flare.

So what about Cian Healy? One must feel sorry for the guy to be fair. IF and that's a big if, he did bite Brett Sheehan then it's game, set, match for him and yes his consolation prize should be a plane fare home to Dublin, but looking at the footage it is hard to say what has happened. Healy came out of the tackle looking the worst out of it, nobody in the rugby world likes to see any player from any background carted off on the stretcher, especially in their first Lion's tour, something that is a great honour to any rugby union player. Let's just hope the allegations are false and Healy's leg is on the mend.

Other players that shone through on the night were Dan Cole, Sean O' Brien, Jonny Sexton, Jamie Heaslip and Manu Tuilagi. Cole was impeccable at the breakdown while O'Brien prowled on the attack in a consistent manner, Heaslip used momentum and sheer force to keep the game ticking over, while Tuilagi played distinctively well with O'Driscoll, his offloads to Drico were precise and gave the crowd something to smile about. Sexton was probably the best on the field for the night that was in it, his natural way of both play on the field and his kick to touch were top notch and he silently steered the game in the right direction, allowing the superb backline to be unleashed onto the opposition.

So two down and the next match is Saturday against the Reds. Some suggest that the Lions aren't up to scratch, it should be taken into account that these lads are still gelling, getting to grips with how each other plays and building up comradery within the camp. Plus with injury a vital point to avoid during these early games, some may not want to blow a gasket too soon. This may come with a price however, test positions are up for grabs, think of it as a "X-Factor for rugby" scenario and Gatland a Simon Cowell persona. Now is the time to shine because if they don't there's going to be a few very warm benches around Australia in about two weeks time, and I don't mean because of the weather....

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Ospreys Ruffle Leinster's Feathers at the RDS

So I'm back on the blogging bandwagon, it's been too long and I think it's time to resurrect the blog by giving an account of last night's match. I was at the RDS to witness the Ospreys make Leinster suffer their first defeat at the RDS for a long time now, and at halftime it looked like we were going to cause yet more embarrassement for the Ospreys, to be fair, they haven't had a good run of late, with the Welsh rugby team making their mark as one of the strongest, clinical teams I've seen play with such grace and fluidity for the last while, the regions seem to be suffering and paling in comparison, the opposite happening with Irish rugby.

 But boy did they show me how wrong I was. The match started a little flat, to be honest I was more interested in my pint of Bulmers. The first points on the board came from penalties from Biggar and McFadden, soon Leinster had the edge at 9-3. The Leinster crowd seemed a lot more silent than usual last night with the Osprey visitors belting out a few Tom Jones specials, however, a scuffled lineout led to Ian Madigan getting his nose over the tryline for Leinster, he's some kid, and soon it was the Leinster crowd who were silencing "Delilah" with the scoreboard showing 16-6.

The Osprey boys soon closed the gap with a try from George Stowers, a nice little beauty set up by Ashley Beck. With Biggar kicking better than I've seen in a long time, the score was soon 19-16 and the visitors looked hungrier for the win. Unfortunately a TMO decision went against Leinster after Heinke Van Der Merwe tumbled over the line, it looked legitimate but the TMO said otherwise, saying it had been held up.

 McFadden's boot opened up the lead to a 6 point difference again but the Ospreys were once again on the warpath, with an unfortunate tackle on Jamie Hagan, the whole crowd were very worried but thankfully he is ok with just a rib injury and I wish him a speedy recovery. The final few minutes were Leinster's demise, a lapse in concentration saw the big man Richard Hibbard soar over the line, the TMO giving the thumbs up for a try.

The final kick from Biggar saw the most bizarre of conversions, the ball hitting the top of the left post and then popping over to give them the one point lead and the win. If we can take anything positive from this match it was this, Captain Cullen is back and the man we've all been missing, Drico. He may have only played for the guts of an hour but he looked fit and sharp, a much needed player for two weeks time for the HC quarter final. And as for the Ospreys, I'd really love to ring that bird's neck ;)
Until next time Cuige Laighean Abú

Here's a player QandA with Leinster's try scorer from last night,Ian Madigan :)

Name:  Ian madigan

Nickname: Mads

Age: 22

Hometown: Dublin

Position: 10/12/15

Caps for Leinster:  37

School:  Blackrock

how did you first get into rugby? mini rugby with my dad and brother in Belvedere rfc

do you remember your first match with Leinster,and tell us about it?last league game of the 09 season away to the dragons!only lasted a few minutes but I remember being very nervous

funniest person on team? Fergus mcf

funniest experience you've had on the pitch? Took a restart after half time against Connacht this year but the reff hadn't come out yet!got a good reception off the crowd

if you weren't playing rugby what would you be doing? Travelling the world

proudest moment with Leinster?getting to play alongside players like Shane Horgan and b o d who id always llwstched on t.v as a kid

what do you like to do outside of rugby and training? Crazy golf in dundrum!!evening course in college

best prank you've ever played on one of the boys or prank that's been done to you or another? We usually hav to give urine samples before games,Ferg pretended to trip up and spill his piss all over me but it was actually lime cordial!it got a good reception off the other lads

worst injury youve ever had in a game or seen in a game? Dislocated shoulder

Best match you've seen in the last 12 months? Hcup final last year

Most favourite try you've scored so far? V dragons this year!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The boys in blue beat the er,boys in blue!!

The match in Cardiff may have seen Leinster get the win over Cardiff but by no means was it straight forward. Leinster started with all guns blazing, taking a quick penalty tap from Eoin Reddan saw Sean O'Brien seal the deal under the posts, Kearney silenced the Cardiff crowd once more by sliding over the line, two lovely tries that Sexton had no problem in converting and giving the away team an advantage of 14-0.
This was short lived however, Leigh Halfpenny's boot was on fire last night, he's a genetic freak when it comes to long range kicking abilities, and hammered over two penalties to change Leinster's early lead to 14-6.
Just before half-time Leinster got lucky with Halfpenny narrowly missing a mammoth of a kick, however, Dan Parks and his sideburns surprised a sleepy Leinster by slicing over a cheeky drop goal to narrow the score to 14-9. Leinster answered back with a penalty successfully kicked over by Sexton.
Gordon D'arcy hasn't had the best of times of late and last night was another blow for him with what appeared to be a smack to the ribs, he was taken off with our boy Isa put on as replacement. Penalties came to  both sides with Sexton successfully slotting his over and thankfully to the Gods above Halfpenny missing some of his.
Sexton had to be taken off as a caution due to what appeared to be a leg injury but was later confirmed as cramp, better to be safe than sorry with two HC matches in the next two upcoming weeks.
The Blues reeled in the score to a one point gap with a try by Gethin Jenkins, to be honest I didn't agree with this one, from what I saw the TMO was inconclusive but then again Blues had been pushing Leinster to their limits, they dominated Leinster thereafter and I thought they may have had it for the winning, Halfpenny was given more opportunities and failed to use it to his advantage, McFadden gave Leinster a four point lead with a penalty awarded after Andrew Conway was impeded while chasing his own kick.
The final dying seconds saw Blues have advantage and it seemed the game could have been theirs until McFadden saved the day, resulting in a turnover that saw Kearney kick the ball out to let the final whistle blow with a fulltime score of 23-19, phew!
I always say a win is a win but Leinster seemed a little sluggish in their last two matches against Connacht and Blues, just hoping their blue magic is back in force this weekend! Until then, Cúige Laighéan Abú!

As we had a Welsh region this weekend, here's a Q and A with Osprey's lock Ian Gough

Name: Ian Gough
Nickname: Goffey , Van, Merv
Age: 35
Hometown: Cwmbran
Caps for Ospreys: 105
Caps for Wales: 64
School: llantarnam

What do you do for fun outside of rugby and training?
motorbikes, surfing, stand up paddle boarding , aerobatic flying and the odd game of squash

How did you get into rugby?
Was it because you were too clumsy for any other sport? ;)
All my mates played soccer but I wasn't that great to be fair! So one Sunday whilst bored my father says right you're going to play rugby , soccer kit in hand went along had my first game and boom that was it!

Who's the dimest player at the ospreys?
Well no ones too dim but Ian Evans does come up with some absolute classics at times, he borders on comedy genius but don't think he means it! (check out yantos yak!)

Gavin Henson, your thoughts??
great talent, too much is said about him , people should just let him play now and cut all this hype crap - when he puts a seasons worth of form together then we can comment

Who's the longest in the shower?
Luke charteris !!!

If you were granted three wishes what would they be?
Wish my plate is always full , glass is never empty and there's always a roof over my head - simple things for simple folk !

Best rugby moment?
Have many , any time we've won anything - leagues, cups , rep honours - 2008 grand slam sticks out though

Worst injury on the pitch? Give us all the gorey details!
Dislocated shoulder and popped ribs wasn't a pleasant experience , although James king having his ear ripped off last week beats my ones!

Worst injury off the pitch? (Clumsy!)
Ripped leg open with a stanley knife trying to cut carpet, almost took a finger off making a Dutch arrow with a Stanley knife - guess I should stay away from them eh!

Best prank you ever played on someone?
3 man lift on a mouthy mate whilst on a stag due in Amsterdam - needles to say he is still distraught

Best prank someone ever played on you?
Was working in Cardiff prison and my dad who was a warden at the time set it up for a prisoner to come in the room and start getting aggressive ! I was 17 and new pants were needed afterwards....

If you and Paddy Doherty the pikey were in a brawl, who would win?
Paddy - I'm a lover not a fighter!

Tell us a random fact about yourself?
Middle name is Mervyn after 70's welsh number 8 mervyn Davies

Funniest thing you've heard in a scrum or during a match?
Alun Wynn Jones chasing a kick running along side his opponent telling him how sexy his red boots looked!