MUNSTER prop Marcus Horan has said his side haven’t given supporters much to shout about in recent weeks, but he was full of praise for the fans that did show up in Thomond Park on Saturday night to witness an 18-11 win over Ospreys in the Magners League semi-final.
The stadium was less than half full for the game as the supporters voted with their feet after the disappointing loss to Harlequins in the Amlin Cup semi-final last month.
There was no supporters in either the north or south terrace as Munster played in front of one of their smallest home crowds in months.
“I didn’t notice the crowd until I came off and saw the stands pretty empty and obviously the terraces were empty,” admitted Horan afterwards before adding: “It can be demoralising, but God the noise was impressive! I think more from us as a team, we probably didn’t give the supporters much to shout about in previous weeks. The crowd that was here was awesome.
“We are very proud of our supporters and we can understand that they are hurting as well after the disappointments of earlier in the season.
“But credit the guys who come out. It didn’t pass any of the players by, the lift the supporters gave to us at certain points of the game when we were defending hard.
“They were just fantastic. There was real heart and desire there, both the team and supporters brought that out in spades.”
Horan believes the side will ‘need to come out fighting’ right from the off if they are to see off arch rivals Leinster in the glamour Magners League Grand Final at Thomond Park on Saturday, May 28.
The experienced Horan will be hoping to add to the family’s medal haul for the season, which has also seen his younger brother David win Munster Senior Cup and Bateman All-Ireland Cup medals with Bruff.
The 33-year-old agrees Munster will need to up their performance from their 18-11 semi-final win over the Ospreys on Saturday evening if they are to overcome Heineken Cup finalists Leinster
“Leinster are a top team at the moment,” he pointed out.
“Their defence is fantastic. They are playing good rugby and if they do come down here as European champions, it will be a great way if gauging ourselves and where we are at following the disappointment of falling out of the competition.
“We will enjoy this win against the Ospreys for what it is and we will start preparing for another big occasion in Thomond Park.
“We have to come out fighting like we did today and maybe with a bit more.”
The May 28 decider at Thomond Park will kick-off at 5.05pm.
Horan said he sensed an edge at training in the lead up to Saturday’s semi-final which augured well for the task in hand.
“We were all very disappointed with a couple of the performances we gave over the past couple of weeks,” Horan admitted.
“Whatever you say about the opposition that beat us, we always mark ourselves on our own performance and we were not up to scratch in the Amlin Challenge Cup and that was hugely disappointing and I think it helped us. It lit a fire under us and we really got going, the whole squad.
“The training we did last Tuesday here in Thomond Park, we were tearing strips out of each other. That really paid dividends for us.
“I’m buzzing for the past couple of weeks. I did a few interviews during the week, speaking to guys about how this is a new challenge for me.
“Since I started playing here, I suppose I was always in the team. The challenge for me was to win things. The challenge for me now is to get back into the team and make a difference.”
Munster’s ticket allocation for the Magners League Grand Final is 50% of available capacity. Tickets will initially be distributed through the Munster Clubs and Munster Rugby Supporters Club.
It is expected that tickets will go on general sale on this Thursday afternoon – May 19 – Check www.munsterrugby.ie for further details next week.
Category A stand tickets cost E40, while Category B stand tickets are priced at E30. Adult terrace tickets cost E20 each, while Junior terrace tickets are on sale for E10. A limited number of family terrace and adult and child Category B tickets are also available.