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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 23 May, 2018
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'It was harsh to ever call out that group of lunatics' - Peter O'Mahony

Thomond Park was a sell-out as Anthony Foley’s Munster delivered on the pitch.

Paul O'Connell celebrates with the Thomond Park crowd after beating Saracens.
Paul O'Connell celebrates with the Thomond Park crowd after beating Saracens.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THIS WAS THOMOND Park back somewhere near its best.

Deafening silences for kicks, a chorus of pressure every time Saracens hooker Jamie George set himself to throw-in at the line-out and the light-hearted slagging of opposition characters like Chris Ashton.

With a 25,600 sell-out crowd watching on, the rugby was perhaps not spectacular in terms of running and linebreaks, but there was utter satisfaction for the home support in Munster’s effective game plan.

After disappointing crowds earlier this season, the province will have been buoyed to see their fan base out in numbers. Captain Peter O’Mahony never doubted them.

“It was harsh to ever call out that group of lunatics,” said the back row post-match at Thomond Park.

You saw it today and heard the noise levels. It’s a pleasure every time you come out there, it doesn’t matter if it’s Europe or the Pro12. The Heineken are special days as well, but they’re an unbelievable group.”

“When we play at home it’s so important to us to let the fans see how important it is to us and how important our record is at home. It’s a big relief to do that. There always is extra pressure at home.

“You want to show the fans how important it is, and you see how important it is to them. They keep turning up to Thomond Park and we want to make sure that they can see it in our eyes when we go out there. We put our bodies on the line to defend and win at home.”

Dave Kilcoyne scores a try and celebrates with Andrew Conway, CJ Stander and Conor Murray Munster celebrate Dave Kilcoyne's second-half try. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

While plaudits should deservedly go the way of Munster’s coaching staff of Anthony Foley, Brian Walsh, Ian Costello, Mick O’Driscoll and Jerry Flannery for delivering the players an ideal game plan, it was those on the pitch who had to see it into action.

With a half-time scoreline of 3-3 despite Munster’s dominance of the territory, they could have been forgiven for being frustrated. However, O’Mahony points out that the focus remained on the strategy, and their work rate.

A big motto we had at half time was to keep showing up for each other. When you feel you can’t make it or you’re down, get up and make it. You’ve just got to do it.

“It’s a great feeling. We know how impressive they can be when they’re allowed to play. They are a great side. It was a real arm wrestle and we’re delighted to come away with the win. We know it took so much hard effort in the week and building up to it.

“We’re not getting carried away two games into a six-game campaign. There’s four more cup finals left.”

5 talking points after Munster drive to victory over Saracens

Aggressive Munster outmuscle Saracens in Thomond Park dogfight

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Murray Kinsella

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