'There was an energy about her... then she'd sing and lift the roof off Thomond Park'

Soprano Cara O’Sullivan is fondly remembered in rugby circles.

CARA O’SULLIVAN GRACED some of the finest stages the world has to offer, but the notes she hit on a patch of grass in Limerick leave a lasting resonance with rugby fans.

The ‘superstar’ soprano died yesterday at the age of 59 after being diagnosed with an aggressive early onset dementia in 2018.

90136605 Cara O'Sullivan at Irish charity To Russia with Love's gala evening in the National Concert Hall. Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Her death brought a flood of tributes from corners of society that do not always intertwine. Remembered for her ‘vocal fireworks’ in opera circles, there were recollections among Munster rugby fans yesterday too owing to her memorable renditions of Stand Up and Fight before big-match kick-offs at Thomond Park.

Among her performances of that rousing war cry, was prior to Munster’s 2008 near-miss against the All Blacks. A day that marked an on-field debut for the Munster Rugby Supporters’ Choir.

For MRSC chairman Jim Lynch, O’Sullivan’s ‘vocal fireworks’ were merely one part of her contribution.

“She was a great supporter of the choir, particularly when it was being set up she gave us great time,” Lynch told The42 today.

“She was a great supporter in that she was always really up for it if we asked her to join us for anything. She was never the type to stand on airs and graces. She would talk to people and encourage them and help people where she could.

“She was a great character to have about the place. There was an energy about her, that’s what she brought and then when she’d sing, quite literally she could lift the roof off Thomond Park.

“When we’d have a dress rehearsal two-three hours before a game, the stadium would be empty but the acoustics were unbelievable and she would lift the roof.”

pinergy-munster-choir-16th-man The Munster Rugby Supporters' Choir in 2018.

On top of lending her talent and support to Munster’s choir, many also fondly recall her following the team itself on epic European away days. Even when the singing pipes lay quiet, people who came into contact with her recall a palpable positivity around her.

“She was a great supporter of Munster. She grew up on the Lough, which is in the shadow of Musgrave Park. So she would have had that exposure, a stone’s throw away. She was a great representative of her city, her province and her country,” Lynch adds.

“She’ll be up in heaven, not in the choir, but leading it.”

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