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Hopes high for ‘sell out’ at Thomond Park for crunch clash

Paul OConnell in action against Perpignan in Thomond Park in December. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Paul OConnell in action against Perpignan in Thomond Park in December. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

  • by Alan Owens
 

MUNSTER will face Edinburgh on Sunday lunchtime with their Heineken Cup destiny in their own hands.

Having already qualified from the pool stages of the competition for a record 15th time in 16 seasons, a home quarter final in the Thomond Park citadel remains a real, if perhaps tantalising prospect.

It is likely that a bonus point will be required against the Scottish team who beat the Munster men in the first round, thereby avoiding a daunting trip to France.

Despite the awkward timing of the game, Thomond Park stadium boss John Cantwell is anticipating a full house come 12.45pm Sunday.

“It is just about a sell out at this point in time, which is great,” he said as of this Wednesday evening.

“Obviously Sunday at 12.45pm wouldn’t be our preferred day or kick off time but in this case it suits the team in terms of knowing what they have to do, what the situation is in terms of trying to secure a home quarter final.

“We like the Friday and Saturday nights and the atmosphere and that is good for business around the town as well, but it is a big game. It just goes to show when the team is playing well, the tickets sell,” he added.

A Munster spokesman confirmed that a limited number of north and south terrace tickets remained on sale and said that Edinburgh had taken up “a very small allocation – less than 100 tickets”.

The Scottish team can not qualify for the knock-out stages, so the prospect of them bringing a large travelling support to Limerick was always an unlikely one.

Mr Cantwell warned that it would be a “tough game, but you never know, we might secure another one, which would be great for everybody”.

“I don’t think any of us budget for a home quarter final, or any kind of a match that is not guaranteed,” he said.

“A home quarter means so much business wise, employment wise to Thomond Park, and to Munster Rugby, to Limerick and the hotels and pubs, so I think everybody is aware of that, it is in the back of the mind,” he added.

The weather forecast for Sunday looks favourable, with mild conditions expected and just a chance of intermittent showers.

 

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