Friday 22 November 2019

Cullen apology puts Leinster on the backfoot

Leo Cullen
Leo Cullen

"After the game last week, our semi-final, I made a comment that seemed to attract plenty of attention," said Cullen.

"Just so that we're all aware, it was a throwaway remark, it was made in jest and I didn't mean to offend anyone.

"For any individuals that I did offend, I apologise to them."

These were the pre-written words Leo Cullen used at The Captain's Run yesterday to address the issue over his call, last Saturday, for Celtic supporters to get behind Leinster as Glasgow will have the backing of Rangers' followers.

The remark was out of character for Cullen, who prefers to let his players do the talking for him.

The media storm that blew up included Celtic legendary Lisbon Lion, Jim Craig, calling for a "private meeting" with the coach to discuss the error of his ways.

For Craig's son James played for the Warriors between 2006 and 2012.

Well, Cullen got the message and came out, unprompted to make an unreserved apology in what was more an error of judgement than anything malicious.

In fact, there may even be further backfire in that 45,000 tickets have been sold for the final.

The likelihood is that more than half of those have been moved by Glasgow Warriors given the fact Celtic are playing in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park this afternoon.

The Cullen charm offensive got into full flow, describing the home of Celtic Football Club as "amazing" and their 50,000 season ticket holders something of which rugby clubs can only dream.

"We've had unbelievable support all season," he said.

"We played a final in Newcastle a couple of weeks ago and, even though we lost that game, it will still go down as one of the highlights of my Leinster career when we pulled up at the stadium and saw the sea of Leinster supporters there.

"Ultimately we couldn't quite deliver on the day for various different reasons," he added.

This is a chance to atone.

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