The blog title came into my mind last week when my third cousin (never met) Jerry Flannery replied to my tweet about his rugby blog on Joe.ie saying there is room for all of us bloggers! But what do people look for in a blog? Here is a chance to give me your opinion of what the ideal would be, assuming Carlsberg did blogs! You can tick all which apply.
I entered the Blog Awards of Ireland competition to get some feedback and to find some new followers. It was not because I thought I was the best blogger ever, or even the best Munster blogger but it seemed a good idea at the time! Looking at how many views the other Munster rugby blogs get (http://www.eamorugby.com/ had over 25k last time I heard while http://redscarerugby.com/ celebrated 30K in 3 weeks recently) I have realised that my modest ~5K views put me into a niche blog category. While I do regret not picking a more distinctive name – a random search on west terrace view brings back lots and lots of real estate sites advertising superb homes with fantastic views 🙂 – I did put some more thought into the tag line – these are my observations, generally but not always from attending live games and written with a glass half full approach as I am first and foremost a supporter, not an analyst or critic. It is not that I wear rose coloured glasses and think that everyone has a super game even when we lose, but when a player has an off day he knows it! There are enough keyboard warriors and cyber bullies in the world unfortunately who think it is ok to use social media to publicly write off players as if they were having a private chat with a mate on the terraces or down the pub.
Last word about the above mentioned Blog Awards – congratulations to Fermoy Rugby whose website has been shortlisted in the Sports category. Their design is a clever use of WordPress. I think it looks like a club website rather than a blog but it meets the judges criteria and looks well but has tough competition in that category.
Delighted to see Munster have taken the lead from Gloucester in the poll I mentioned last week for the most passionate fans!
Another item of interest available is the Ronan O’Gara interview on Second Captains on RTE- http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10197863/ ….
The match this weekend was in Italy against Zebre who may not have won a League game since they were formed last season, but they came close on many occasions earning 9 losing bonus points in the process. The game was not on Irish TV (but TG4 showed highlights later on Friday night and RTE2 on Saturday) so I kept up to date via twitter. It was a shock to see the half time score of 19-9 to the home team after Orquera scored a cheeky try when Munster assumed he was going to kick a penalty and then their hooker Manici showed good footwork to evade tackles and score before half time. However, Johne Murphy continuing his good form from last week made a great counter-attack in the second half showing his own great evasive techniques before a lovely offload to Denis Hurley who in turn passed to Paddy Butler for a try, converted by JJ Hanrahan. It was great to see more of the ball skills, offloads and good support lines which had impressed against Edinburgh and the friendlies.
Cathal Sheridan who last week provided the scoring pass to Hanrahan, this week did a similar break and passed to CJ Stander to score his second try of the night. In another mirror of last weeks game Keatley came on to score a try as JJ had done for the previous two weeks and they are also taking turns winning Man of the Match awards!
It was good to see James Downey and Andrew Conway back after injury plus Donnacha Ryan return to action after his pre-season but disappointing to see Tommy O’Donnell helped off after a hyper extension of his knee while Ian Nagle sprained his leg in the game – both players are returning to Ireland for treatment while the squad remain in Italy. Andrew Conway was injured in a bad tackle (for which the Zebre player was shown a yellow card) but is remaining with the team.
Rob Penney has to make some tough calls to finalise his initial ERC squad of 38 (10 to be front row players) by Sept 19th.
The icing on the cake is that Munster are now top of the table with maximum points from their opening two games and while there is a long way to go a good start is great to build confidence and momentum. Treviso will provide a tougher test next weekend, but we do owe them after last February’s 34-10 humiliation! It is also good to see we have zero cards so far this season. Hopefully we can continue to keep at the top of the Specsavers Fairplay League 2013-2014!
I will be away next weekend but hope to keep up to date through twitter and the forum. Buona Fortuna to the team.
The following weekend I should return in time to watch the game with the MRSC Dublin branch assuming RTE don’t change their broadcast schedule due to the All Ireland hurling replay..
Images taken with permission from http://www.flickr.com/photos/dfeehely. I particularly like Daryl’s clever caption to this one – to which Cathal replied on twitter: “No matter how hard I stared, the ball just wouldn’t move..”
Zebre: Ruggero Trevisan (Dion Berryman 70); Leonardo Sarto, Kameli Ratuvou, Gonzalo Garcia (Tommaso Iannone 61), Giovanbattista Venditti; Luciano Orquera, Brendon Leonard (Alberto Chillon 74); Salvatore Perugini (Matias Aguero 49), Andrea Manici (Davide Giazzon 61), Luca Redolfini (Dario Chistolini 49); Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Bortolami (cap) (George Biagi 70); Filippo Ferrarini, Andries van Schalkwyk, Samuela Vunisa
Munster: Denis Hurley; Johne Murphy, Casey Laulala, Ivan Dineen, Andrew Conway (James Downey h-t); JJ Hanrahan (Ian Keatley 72), Cathal Sheridan (Duncan Williams 72); Dave Kilcoyne (James Cronin 70), Damien Varley Capt (Mike Sherry 65)., John Ryan (Stephen Archer 65); Donnacha Ryan, Ian Nagle (Dave Foley 31); CJ Stander, Tommy O’Donnell (Niall Ronan 67), Paddy Butler.