Munster players celebrate with the URC trophy. Ben Brady/INPHO

'This will only get better' - Rowntree's message to Munster fans

The URC winners returned home to a rapturous reception from over 10,000 fans at Thomond Park this evening.

MUNSTER LEGEND KEITH Earls said that winning the URC title in South Africa and returning home to a rapturous reception from over 10,000 fans at Thomond Park was a dream come true.

The 35-year old, who may have played his final game for Munster in the 19-14 win over the Stormers on Saturday, was the first player on the ground in Limerick on Monday morning.

The team bus arrived in Limerick at 10am and an hour later Earls had the URC trophy in Milford National School where his children go to school.

keith-earls-celebrates-with-fans Keith Earls with the URC trophy. Ben Brady / INPHO Ben Brady / INPHO / INPHO

The Irish international, to chants of ‘one more year’, was given a rapturous welcome when he was introduced to the crowd, who had started gathering for the free event at Thomond Park around 4.30pm.

“Look, it’s a dream come true. I grew up 500 metres from here over the wall ino Ballynanty and into Moyross.

I don’t really care about the medals and the trophy, it’s all about the province of Munster. We are delighted to do it for them, it has been a long time.

“Getting over the wall here after school every day, kicking the ball around and then getting to lift the trophy here with the lads in front of a few thousand, it’s great, magic.”

Earls said this win after 12 years without a trophy was particularly special for older players such as himself, Peter O’Mahony, Stephen Archer and Conor Murray.

“Yeah, it has been a long time, it has been 12 years. It is a privilege to share the pitch with them. I know some of the lads cannot be here, Conor Murray is getting married next week. He’s under savage pressure! We’ll enjoy,” added Earls.

Head coach Graham Rowntree promised the fans that this win was just the start for Munster, and that they will have gained so much from the way they had to win it with their final six games away from home.

“This won’t sink in for a long time, they won’t realise it,” said Rowntree. “There is no other team has done this, six games away from home. And no one will ever do it again. But we will find a hard way to do it next time!

“And what that gives you as a player is the belief, you become bullet-proof. And you go and play teams and they are scared of you. I mean, we should have put them away by half-time on Saturday.

“This group will fight and I am just so proud of them. We are ready for this and this group of players are ready for this. It will only get better lads, I promise you that. This will only get better.”

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