Belfast Telegraph

Anthony Foley calling on raucous fans to inspire Munster in PRO12 clash with Ospreys

By David Kelly

There was a time when it was deemed crazy if a visiting team refused to become overawed by the prospect of attempting to plunder Thomond Park.

Those days have long since passed.

Now even the tenants are in agreement that the fear factor has been evicted from the premises as they prepare to welcome Ospreys this weekend for a Guinness PRO12 semi-final.

"They won't have any fear coming here," declared Munster coach Anthony Foley. "They've won here this season. So it's up to us to produce our own performance that we can stand over."

No team have won an away PRO12 semi-final but plenty have won in Thomond Park in recent times, Ospreys amongst the swelling number.

And from South Wales last night came similarly stirring endorsements that this once proud sporting citadel remains rather less the unimpeachable fortress of yore, if Ospreys back-row Dan Baker's blithe unconcern is believable.

"It's just a stat, no one ever winning away," trumpeted Baker. "And it's there to be changed. We are capable of winning and we know what we have got to do."

Saturday will mark only Munster's second game in Limerick in 2015 and Foley hopes Thomond can be restored to former glory.

The swift turnaround doesn't help, especially as the game isn't included on season tickets but, with 12,000 sold yesterday amidst brisk business, Foley is optimistic.

"Munster supporters in this region will come out and support us - they've done it any time we've played here," he said.

"After a poor start to the season, they didn't walk away from us. With a new coaching group and some new players, we grew. And we're now at the back end where there has been a lot of growth.

"For any team to come to Thomond Park, it's just a pitch and a stadium. What always made it special were the people in the stands and the atmosphere.

"That allowed us to feed off them, they fed off us as well. They knew how important it was for us to win for Munster and they came along to support us in that.

"And from there, great days and great nights were grown. I don't think you can ever plan them. It's very hard to do.

"When we needed help throughout the years, the supporters were there for us. Hopefully we'll see the same on Saturday."

Belfast Telegraph

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