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'We need people to come out and support us' - Munster call for Thomond Park crowd

The province’s head coach, Anthony Foley, is not looking for sympathy as the injury count grows.

Simon Zebo, Conor Murray and Robin Copeland celebrate a try last weekend.
Simon Zebo, Conor Murray and Robin Copeland celebrate a try last weekend.

MUNSTER COACH ANTHONY Foley has called on the province’s fans to show their support this weekend by turning up for the Guinness Pro12 clash against the league-leading Ospreys at Thomond Park.

Attendances of 13,428 and 12,488 were recorded for Munster’s first two home games of the season against Edinburgh and Zebre, respectively, although there were certainly fewer people in the stadium for both games.

Those official figures include season ticket holders who haven’t been present at the Limerick stadium, and head coach Anthony Foley has urged those staying away to make their presence felt.

With the in-form Ospreys set to visit on Saturday [KO 18.30], there is sure to be a rise in attendance, something Foley feels his squad need if they are to make a fist of competing in the Pro12 this season.

I think this is the third time we’ve asked for it – we’d like a bit of support in Thomond Park,” said the former No. 8. “We’d like our home atmosphere, we’d like people to come along because we definitely need the support.

“If we’re to go anywhere in this competition, we need to make it a fortress. We’ll do our best on the pitch, but we need people to come out and support us as well.”

Of further disappointment to Munster in the early stages of this campaign has been a growing injury list.

Donnacha Ryan is now set for up to six months on the sidelines due to impending toe surgery, while Keith Earls’ comeback has been delayed. Promising centre Cian Bohane ruptured an ACL in pre-season, while Mike Sherry is out until 2015 after a second shoulder operation.

MunsterÕs Cian Bohane is injured but gives the thumbs up as he leaves the pitch Cian Bohane was injured against London Irish in pre-season. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Issues for Sherry’s fellow hookers Damian Varley and Niall Scannell have forced the province to bring in short-term cover in the shape of Argentinian international Eusebio Guiñazú.

Peter O’Mahony is progressing gradually after shoulder surgery late last season, while Gerhard Van den Heever and Luke O’Dea picked up a knee injuries in the Limerick World Club 7s in August.

It’s not quite on the same scale as the Leicester Tigers’ incredible current sick list yet, but it’s also far from ideal for Foley and his all-Irish coaching staff.

Not that the Munster head coach is looking for sympathy.

It’s the nature of contact sport, you know? We’ve had them in the past, we’ll have them in the future. It’s a massive opportunity for other guys to step in and create a career for themselves, or create an opportunity. That’s what you’ve got to look at.

“We’ve got a lot of very good players here, so other guys will step up,” continued Foley.

“There’s no place to go and whinge, there’s nobody going to listen to any sad stories! We’re Munster Rugby, we’ve to go out and win games. It doesn’t matter who we put out there, it’ll be 15 Munster jerseys and people will expect a certain standard out of us.”

- Audio courtesy of Limerick’s Live 95FM.

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Murray Kinsella

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