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Something special says McGahan

Guinness PRO12 Editor

1 Jun 2011

Munster head coach Tony McGahan believes Saturday’s Grand Final triumph was a truly special moment for the whole of his squad.

McGahan’s men were 19-9 victors over European Champions Leinster at Thomond Park as they regained the crown they lost to the Ospreys 12 months ago.

Munster’s success on Saturday was just reward for a spectacular domestic season that featured only three defeats in nine months of cut-throat action.

The Red Army were by far the most consistent team in the competition and McGahan is rightly proud of the manner in which they claimed their third Magners League title.

"It's huge right across the board," said McGahan, whose side were knocked out of last season’s tournament at the semi-final stage after failing to secure a home Play-Off.

"From the playing group, the management and the organisation, to development officers, young players coming through and, more importantly, the supporters, they can look around now and say that we have done something very important.

"From a Magners League perspective, we played 24 games, 21 results.

"To get through such a tough season with a small population base and dealing with the national side is difficult but we still have got plenty more to come."

McGahan’s is a worrying analysis for the other sides in the Magners League. If Munster have more to come, then the 11 other teams will have to raise their game if they wish to wrestle the trophy away from Limerick and Cork next term.

Munster may have fallen short in Europe this year but their Magners League form points to good times ahead, as does the impact of a number of young players who are starting to make a name for themselves at Thomond and Musgrave Park.

The likes of centre Danny Barnes, who scored a brace of tries in the semi-final win over the Ospreys, scrum-half Connor Murray, who helped ease the pain of Tomas O’Leary’s absence, and 22-year-old hooker Mike Sherry have all made big impressions, while full back Felix Jones has been a real star in his second season of Magners League rugby.

And while outside observers have suggested Saturday’s victory was a watershed moment for those youngsters, McGahan believes that particular crop were on the right path regardless. It can’t have hurt though to have his faith rewarded on the biggest stage of all, though, with the eyes of the world watching and with so much at stake.

"We are delighted but we didn't need this victory to prove that to us, we knew they would be ready," added McGahan.

"There was no bigger stage than against, without a doubt, the best side in Europe, and to stand up and contribute to the result is fantastic news for everyone involved."