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Posts Tagged ‘ Belfast ’

European Rugby – Leinster Face A Tough Run To The Final

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

When the European Rugby Champion’s Cup was announced the cries from this side of the pond were that the new structure was essentially designed to stop the Irish teams from winning all the time. Whilst not exactly true, this Round 6 weekend and the subsequent knock out lay out has shown exactly what is different about this new structure. The goal was to make the competition more competitive, and no team is seeing this more so than Leinster. In previous years a home quarter final was all but a guarantee of progression to the semi finals. This was down to the void that often existed between the top 4 and bottom 4 teams. However, with four less teams and therefore more competitive pools you would have to say that nobody, bar Toulon, has anything resembling an easy route through the quarter finals. And of course the draw for the semi finals can be cruel as always with Leinster likely facing down a Toulon in France engagement should they get past a resurgent Bath. Simple.

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European Rugby – Munster And Ulster Bow Out

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It’s bad, it really is. Munster and Ulster are out of contention in the European Rugby Champion’s Cup. For Munster this is the campaign that began with Ian Keatley channeling Ronan O’Gara and sealing the opening win with a sumptuous drop goal. For Ulster, it hasn’t looked too good all season but damn it hadn’t once looked this bad. Leinster and Connacht now carry the European hopes for Ireland as north and south must regroup.
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European Rugby – Munster Face Down Their Biggest Milestone

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New competition, new beginnings and a chance for Munster to reclaim some of their former glory. That is what awaits Anthony Foley’s men on Saturday when they travel to meet Saracens. It is getting tired and it is beyond cliche to say it, but Munster are a backs to the wall team at their finest moments. When all is required and all can be lost, that is when Munster sincerely find their place in European Rugby. There is no better recent example than that exemplary performance against Harlequins in 2013 when Munster were all but written off and came out blazing to send ‘Quins home licking their wounds. Of course, these scenarios don’t always go their way but there seems to just be a little in the air to suggest that won’t be the case this weekend.
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Pro 12 – New Signings Set To Bolster Leinster And Connacht

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Well the European Rugby Champions Cup (I’m informed there’s no apostrophe in there, I still disagree) has kicked off and the world didn’t end. Better yet there was some decent rugby to be seen and it hasn’t in fact turned into an Anglo-Gallic swarm with three Celtic nations well poised to do the business come next spring. But ahead of the November internationals we have to turn our eye back to the domestic league, for some it will be the last chance to put a hand up for Irish selection before the Six Nations.
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European Rugby – Time To Separate The Men From The Boys

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Round two of the European Rugby Champion’s Cup and already we’re looking at a whole new playing field. Ulster VS Toulon, Munster VS Saracens, Leinster VS Castres and Connacht VS Exeter. Certainly far more fitting and mouth watering challenges for the provinces, and though it may be true that you don’t lose any competition in the first round, the second is where those short fallings and mistakes can be made that haunt you for the rest of the season.

Munster VS Saracens this evening is a fixture that has never failed to thrill. Through the year these sides have fought some of the closest matches in rugby history and one could argue that Saracens have the closest thing to a Munster-esque legacy in England, their embrace of brand establishment and of course they have thrown up some results to justify all of it. Kelly Brown, Billy Vunipola, David Strettle, Owen Farrell, Brad Barrit. It doesn’t need to be emphasised what pedigree Munster find themselves up against this evening. Continue reading

LOI Supporter Workshop Aims To Make A Difference

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League of Ireland clubs survive and thrive because of the ongoing support, effort and dedication of their supporters and volunteers, and the ‘LOI Supporters: Making a Vital Difference‘ workshop will highlight much of the crucial work carried out by fans in the name of the crest of their football shirt.

The LOI Supporters: Making a Vital Difference workshop is organised by the Irish Supporters Network, and is open to everyone interested in building a brighter future for our game.

The event will be held at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, November 1st to coincide with one of the most important dates in the Irish football calendar: the FAI Cup final which pits Derry City against St Patrick’s Athletic.. Continue reading

Pro 12 – Testing Times Ahead Of Europe

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Clean sweep it may have been, but perfect it was anything but. This most recent weekend of Pro 12 rugby has shown just how much the Irish provinces, Ulster aside, may be clinging on by their fingernails in European competitions this season, a shame when the new iteration could do with some input from nations outside of France and England to solidify it somewhat. That’s not to say that things are in dire straits and we would be lucky to see even one Irish side make the knock outs, but several kicks up several behinds are required in order for all four provinces to be competitive.  Continue reading

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