MUNSTER number eight, James Coughlan said he could fully understand the sense of frustration the province’s supporters felt when their renditions of the ‘Fields of Athenry’ were repeatedly drowned up by the playing of loud music over the PA at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
Scores of angry Munster supporters have criticised of the decision by Saracens to pump out a chorus of ‘Stand Up for The Saracens’ over the PA every time Munster’s travelling supporters broke into song during Sunday’s Heineken Cup pool clash between the sides.
Supporters felt the decision was a blatant bit of gamesmanship to drown them out at Vicarage Road.
Munster number eight Coughlan said he could appreciate the fans sense of frustration.
“I suppose they knew there was a big Munster support travelling and they did what they could to try and nullify that,” James Coughlan said.
“It is frustrating for the fans. Part of going away is having that banter between the supporters and because the music was so loud you couldn’t even have the banter with the fella next to you, never mind in groups.
“Obviously in was something they had planned and there is nothing we can do about it now.
“It is something which happened. It had no bearing on what happened on the pitch.
“But it is hard enough to save up to go away to London for the weekend and to feel disappointed. From the supporters point of view it was compounded by the result as well, unfortunately.
“It was my first time to experience it. That was their decision and as the home team they had every right to do so. There is not much we can do.”
Several Saracens supporters voice their objection to the decision to respond to the Munster supporters singing by playing loud music during the course of Sunday’s game which the home side won, 19-13. A number voiced their disappointment on the club’s official website.
One supporter, ‘Suzi’ wrote that she was disgusted the team she loved had ‘stooped so low.’
She wrote: “Great win guys, but I’ve come away very disappointed. The Munster crowd were vocally supporting their team and to my horror, the PA system drowned them out by playing the Saracens songs continually whilst the ball was in play.
“I thought we were a far better club than that. It annoyed both Munster fans and Saracens fans too. I know many fans from both teams complained to the stewards after the game about this.”
Another fan, ‘briand’, added: “Excellent win, spoiled by the ridiculous intrusions of the guy on the music throughout the game. I was particularly embarrassed of his attempts to drown out the singing of the opposition fans.
“Munster have a huge following and to belittle their fans in this way was disgraceful. It’s not normal for the music to be played at EVERY break of play, so I guess this was a planned attempt to permanently quieten the Munster fans.”