DFP Header Area

Quinlan predicts titanic battle

Guinness PRO12 Editor

12 May 2010

Alan Quinlan is never a man to understate anything, so when he tells you to get ready for "a titanic battle" you know it’s time to buckle up and get set for a bumpy ride.

You won’t have to tell any Munster fan or player just how many times in a row that Leinster have beaten their arch-rivals from the south – it’s three. Three excruciatingly painful defeats. 

The sequence started with the Heineken Cup semi-final at Croke Park last season and then continued through a Magners League double this term. It was an incredible 30-0 at the RDS in October and then a much closer 16-15 at Thomond Park. 

Not that the one-point margin provided any comfort or solace for Munster, given that it was the first Leinster win at Thomond Park since 1995. The only thing that could have hurt any more would have been not reaching the Magners League Play-Offs and at least getting a shot at defending their title. 

"It would have been a disaster for us had our season been over last weekend. We were hurting after our exit from the Heineken Cup and we had to try to salvage our season," explained Quinlan, who helped his side secure the bonus point they needed in Cardiff to make the top four. 

"It was a massive effort against the Blues and we had to show a lot of character. It was a difficult week after going out of Europe – especially in the manner we did. 

"We came together as a squad and galvanised ourselves. The work rate and enthusiasm shown by everyone who came into the side was fantastic and I thought we deserved to win the game, rather than just get the point we required. 

"The Magners League has been a fantastic competition this season and the standard has improved incredibly. There are no weak teams any more and it is very hard to win at anyone else’s ground. 

"It is a goal achieved for us reaching the semi-finals. We have prided ourselves over the years about being in contention for titles at the end of the season and last week’s result has given us the opportunity to remain in the hunt for a major trophy. 

"We have a chance now, albeit a very difficult one going to the RDS to play Leinster. They have been the better side the last few times we have played them and they have an excellent squad. 

"I don’t say that just for the sake of giving them a compliment, they have proved that by winning Europe and the way they have beaten us in the last three games. 

"But this is cup football now and the favourite tag goes out of the window. We have an opportunity to win some silverware and we believe we have a chance. 

"It is just great to be here and we are going to enjoy it." 

Munster took the Magners League last season by a clear eight-point margin, losing only four of their 18 matches. This year they managed only a 50-50 split to finish the regular league campaign in fourth place. 

"We’ve been inconsistent this season and we have hit highs and lows. We know we will need to play really well against Leinster and hit another high," added Quinlan, Munster’s Magners League Ambassador. 

"We always knew it was likely to be Leinster we would end up playing and you could see from the effort of the players in Cardiff that we wanted to get there. We know it is going to be a massive challenge. 

"These games are always tight normally, although Leinster have been the better team recently. It is always difficult away from home and we will certainly need a bit of luck to beat them. 

"It’s always hard to lose in derby matches and I think it’s about time we won after losing the last three." 

Wishful thinking? Maybe, but you know old Quinny is going to do everything he can to make Munster’s dreams come true.