FANS OF ULSTER and Leinster will once again miss out on sampling one of the traditions of the Heineken Cup Final this year.
In many past finals a highlight of Sky Sports’ coverage was when they cut from the game back to a team’s home city where thousands upon thousands had thronged the streets to watch the match on a big screen.
Such was the case in Limerick’s O’Connell Street when Munster lifted the trophy in 2006 and 2008, and memorably in central Toulouse on numerous occasions.
The crowd reaction there often gave a much better sense of the emotion surrounding the occasion than the crowd inside the stadium.
Last year, rugby’s European showpiece fell on a weekend between visits to Ireland from Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama.
With Leinster in the final, it was felt that sustaining the manpower needed for crowd control in Dublin city centre was an unnecessary extra expense. This year, Leinster’s third appearance in the final, there are still no plans erect a screen.
It is a similar case in Ulster. Their last final appearance took place in January 1999 and this year the province has organised a screening party in The Bot bar. Ulster Rugby also encourage supporters not travelling to Twickenham to watch the game from their local rugby club.
It is believed that Belfast City Council were hopeful of organising a big screen event at City Hall independent of the province, but these efforts are unlikely to succeed.
Here’s what they’re missing out on. The final moments of Munster’s long-awaited victory in 2006 – just ignore the opening soundtrack and keep an eye out for RTE’s Jacqui Hurley bouncing into shot at the 1.20 mark. Elation (understandably) shredding her professional decorum.
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