Friday 21 October 2016

Foley needs another miracle in European battle

Ian Keatley (Sportsfile)
Ian Keatley (Sportsfile)

Just when you think you've witnessed it all in this competition, the European Cup has a way of biting you on the posterior when you least expect.

Munster are not the force that once ransacked English clubs for fun. There was precious little in the way of entertainment at Thomond Park last Saturday.The sound of a portion of the home crowd mocking Ian Keatley as he trudged from the field of play was yet another example of a tearing away of what was the umbilical link between player and patron.

Like Jimmy Gopperth at Leinster last year, the out-of-province players are the easy targets for cowardly behaviour.

"Booing any of your own players is just appalling," said ex-Munster and Leinster prop Paul Wallace.

"Supporters should be there through thick and thin. When you start booing players, it's unforgivable for any fans."

It will be noteworthy to observe what kind of reception Keatley receives at Welford Road where Munster will need every voice they can muster.

The link between Conor Murray and the undoubtedly out-of-tune Keatley must be mended in double-quick time.

Without the proper direction at half-back, Munster will be going nowhere.

In order to execute the game-plan, the front eight will have to deliver an almighty show.

The simple facts are that they do not have the international class of old.

There was a time when Munster's forward pack was Ireland's.

At present, Peter O'Mahony is their only front-runner and he is out of action through injury.

It says everything about Munster's chances.

And still.

Leicester v Munster, WelfoRd Rd, Sunday (KO5.15, BT Sport Europe)

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