Leinster’s adopted Kiwis prove pivotal in Irish sport’s grandest cathedral

Leinster’s adopted Kiwis prove pivotal in Irish sport’s grandest cathedral

Skim through the 15 games, amounting to 1,2srcsrc-plus minutes, that were played during rugby’s first residency in Croke Park and the sight of Shane Horgan mid-air and catching Ronan O’Gara’s crosskick in the corner is the image that stands out a country mile.

It is a picture that would hang in the Louvre were Horgan French and it was lauded as a score that summed up the unusual crossover of codes – a Corkman punting, a Meathman plucking the ball from the skies – on one of the most historic days in Irish sport at GAA HQ.

All these memories resurfaced ahead of Leinster’s return to the ground after 15 years and a Champions Cup semi-final against Northampton Saints but there was no crushing defeat of the English this time. No picture perfect symbol of victory. Nothing near it.

This time it was Ciaran Frawley rising high in the corner to take a crucial catch but Leinster were only ten points up with the clock ticking down, trying to hold off a late Northampton surge and the ball was landing just inches from the home team’s try line.

The Saints made it over for a converted Tom Seabrook try soon after – with Frawley still on the deck receiving medical attention – and it made the closing five minutes a torturous time for a te

…. to be continued
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