LIMERICK is gearing up to be gripped by red fever as Munster face their fiercest provincial rivals Leinster in Thomond Park this weekend.
The match is a sell-out, and Munster Rugby have confirmed to the Limerick Leader that close to 3,000 Leinster fans are expected to swarm into the city on Saturday evening for the RaboDirect PRO12 clash. Meanwhile a whopping 6,400 Ulster fans are expected the following weekend for the Heineken Cup Clash on Easter Sunday.
With two full houses for both matches, in excess of 40,000 fans will mean two bumper weekends for the region, and Limerick is to roll out the red carpet for the legion of rugby fans making their way here.
Flags will be distributed to fans in the city centre before each match, with volunteers on hand to paint the faces of enthusiastic fans.
Bands have also been booked to perform at entertainment hotspots lining the route from the city centre to Thomond Park, while the water in the O’Connell monument will be coloured red on both match days and flags will proudly fly from various buildings around the city.
Eagerly anticipating welcoming thousands of fans to the city, Limerick Communications Executive Laura Ryan proudly declared that the “Limerick experience is legendary on rugby weekends”.
“We are looking forward to welcoming visiting Leinster and Ulster fans to Limerick while also backing the Munster team by painting the city red to show our support,” said Ms Ryan, noting the support of local businesses in helping the initiative.
Limerick.ie will be issuing a dedicated newsletter to visiting supporters extending a warm welcome to Limerick and highlighting the full range of entertainment throughout the city over the weekend.
Meanwhile, an exhibition capturing some of the best action photographs of the Munster team and passionate fans from the past decade will open in a city gallery this Thursday evening.
Parteen-based photographer Ivan O’Riordan will launch the ‘Band of Brothers’ exhibition in the Raggle Taggle gallery on Sarsfield Street in time to capture the big match spirit in the city.
“I am calling it Band of Brothers because that encompasses the current team, past players and fans and my idea was that both the present and the past would be celebrated in the exhibition,” explained Mr O’Riordan, an accredited photographer with the Munster Supporters’ Club for over four years.
The exhibition opens this Thursday and will run for three weeks.