Injured: Conor Murray has been selected for the Lions Picture: Sportsfile
THE PRIDE of Lions of Patrickswell and Castleconnell will journey to New Zealand from Limerick this summer.
Scrum-half Conor Murray and number eight CJ Stander have both made the grade for the British and Irish Lions tour to face the mighty All Blacks, starting in June.
The Limerick duo will also be joined by their Munster captain, Peter O’Mahony.
The Lions tour selection proves timely for the Patrickswell star, who celebrates his 28th birthday this Thursday, his “absolutely delighted” dad Gerry said.
Gerry said that the announcement is also a silver lining for the scrum-half, who will more than likely miss out on this Saturday’s Saracens clash. Reports suggest that Lions coach Warren Gatland had said he must play before departure to get his seat on the plane to New Zealand.
“There is always something out there for everyone, and he’s got another goal there now, to keep driving him on. He is very committed," said Gerry Murray of his son.
He added: “Conor definitely has the right attitude because he never falters with faith in the team, and from a very young age, he was Munster all the way through. He is in great spirits and he is delighted with himself,” he told the Leader.
Meanwhile, Munster's Red Army will decamp to Dublin this weekend, as the province take on tough opposition Saracens for a place in the European Champions Cup final.
With 37,000 tickets distributed via official Munster channels, thousands of loyal supporters from Limerick will travel to the capital this Saturday for the semi-final kick-off at 3.15pm.
Munster Rugby Supporters Club honorary secretary, Ian Buckley, told the Leader that they are hoping for up to 3,000 hardcore fans to form a guard of honour for Rassie Erasmus and his squad, outside the Aviva.
He said that the supporters club will have six full coaches heading to the Aviva from each county in the province, with a large number of local pubs and clubs sending full coaches to Dublin, also.
“It is great to be back in a semi-final. When you consider where we were last year, it is fantastic to be even talking about being in the semi-final. And the fact that it is at home, in Dublin, it makes it that little bit more accessible to get to it,” the St Mary’s Park man enthused.
“It is going to be a huge game, and a huge task, as Saracens are an unbelievable side. But if any team can turn this game on its head, it is definitely the Munster team, especially this year, in light of everything that has gone on so far. And it really makes it all the more special.”
Gerry Murray said that Conor's Patrickswell clan will “definitely” be attending the big game this Saturday.
He commended coach Rassie Erasmus, saying “he did a great job with them [Munster]. Nobody would have expected we would be back where we are.”
“It is going to be an exciting match. It’s a Cup match, and Saracens are very strong, but the Munster spirit is there,” Gerry said.
Thousands of euro will be also raised for rugby clubs in Limerick thanks to the match this weekend. Benefiting from Munster’s success this season, a number of local clubs are to sell tickets to their members at special pre-match lunches and fundraisers in the capital, before the match.