David Corkery: This was the first time as  a Munster man I was glad to see us lose

'Like a wounded dog, Munster and all those who follow them with such passion have mercifully been put out of their misery by Ulster'
David Corkery: This was the first time as  a Munster man I was glad to see us lose

Munster's Keith Earls and Jason Jenkins dejected after the loss to Ulster on Friday night. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

THANK God the season is over.

In all my years of playing and watching rugby, never ever did I expect to be so appreciative that Munster lost.

Like a wounded dog, Munster and all those who follow them with such passion have mercifully been put out of their misery by Ulster. The anguish and torture is over.

At this stage, there is little or no point in bitching or moaning because ever since Johann van Graan arrived in Limerick the warning signs have been there and those in charge did nothing about it.

I think it is also worth mentioning that van Graan assumed his role as Munster’s head gaffer on the recommendation of his fellow countryman Rassie Erasmus which must never be allowed to happen again.

Erasmus may have won a World Cup with South Africa, but van Graan was never a head coach of any team and for Erasmus to have sent him our way was a very poor error in judgement.

Munster head coch Johann van Graan. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Munster head coch Johann van Graan. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that if Munster was a business where there were shareholders waiting for their dividends at the end of the year, heads would have rolled a very long time ago. I can 100% guarantee you that if Leinster found themselves in Munster’s boots, Leo Cullen and all his coaching team would have been given their P45s long before the embarrassing performances were allowed to transpire.

There were passages in Friday night’s United Rugby Championship quarter-final against Ulster where the Munster players looked as if they had never met each other before, let alone played together for the last three seasons.

South African World Cup winner Damien De Allende and Irish international Chris Farrell found themselves getting ripped apart with the most basic of attacking plays by Ulster and when they look back at the video footage of this game, they will hang their heads in shame. As for those who were viewing this game as an opportunity to impress the on looking Andy Farrell and book themselves a seat on the summer tour to New Zealand, they would be better off going online now and looking for some cheap flights to Disneyland.

Apart from Mike Hayley, who constantly gives everything to the cause, Josh and Fineen Wycherley, who are getting better with every game, Gavin Coombes, who has much to learn but has massive potential, and Craig Casey, who needs to learn the art of controlling his enthusiasm, the rest of Friday night’s squad looked as if they just had enough.

Ulster’s Alan O’Connor and John Ryan of Munster after the game on Friday night. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
Ulster’s Alan O’Connor and John Ryan of Munster after the game on Friday night. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Dare I say it, even Peter O’Mahony played as if he had just gone 15 rounds with Mike Tyson beforehand. Apart from one or two cameos, Munster’s captain was nowhere to be seen and I would even question his inclusion on the team sheet.

O’Mahony is now entering the stage of his career where he needs to be managed with kid gloves and while he still has so much to offer, there is no way he can continue to throw his body around the field like he used to and last the entirety of a full season.

Time waits for no man and if Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell are as clever as they make out to be, they will use O’Mahony as Jack Charlton used Paul McGrath.

Joey Carbery was yet again outplayed by his fellow number 10 and failed to offer any kind of spark of genius that might ignite a fire under his fellow players’ arses. How at this stage he can be viewed as Johnny Sexton’s successor is a mystery and if Munster think that the former Leinster player is going to take them by the hand and guide them to the promised land, they are sadly mistaken.

Munster need someone who can throw on the number 10 jersey and put the fear of God into every forward he plays with and I would like to think that Rowntree will be shrewd enough to recognise that he has a big discrepancy in the makeup of his squad, because any rugby team without a 10 of substance is going nowhere fast.

Munster will now enter their 12th year without having to have opened the trophy cabinet and whilst the new coaching team looks like it has the perfect blend of Munster and outsider DNA, the road ahead will be long and unless they purchase well over the summer months the keys for that cabinet could be dormant for a bit longer yet.

I wish van Graan, Stephen Larkham and JP Ferreira all the very best as they embark on their new coaching positions.

However, what I can’t say is that they have left the Munster brand in a better place than when they initially took up their roles.

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