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Tough challenge: Paul O’Connell trying to stop a Leinster double in today’s Magners League final in Thomand Park

Tough challenge: Paul O’Connell trying to stop a Leinster double in today’s Magners League final in Thomand Park

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Tough challenge: Paul O’Connell trying to stop a Leinster double in today’s Magners League final in Thomand Park

Leinster plan a triumphant march into Munster today — and create Celtic rugby history in the process.

The newly-crowned European champions aim to silence the vast majority of the capacity 26,000 Thomond Park crowd and have the added incentive of becoming the first team from Ireland, Scotland or Wales to win the Heineken Cup and Magners League title in one season.

Just six days after beating Northampton in an epic Heineken final at the Millennium Stadium, Leinster's appetite for silverware remains ravenous.

“We know that it is going to be a tough battle against Munster,” said Leinster's South Africa-born hooker Richardt Strauss.

“We know them pretty well and they are a physical side. We have to try and stop their momentum, and if we can do that it will be a close game. We are a proud squad and are ready to take them on this weekend. We are hungry to win more trophies.

Both teams are chasing their third Celtic crown, although history favours Munster given that Leinster have won just once in Limerick since 1995.

Munster are also trying to salvage a season of crushing disappointment. Although they won the regular league season by 13 points, a first Heineken Cup pool stage exit since 1998, followed by an Amlin Challenge Cup home semi-final defeat to Harlequins, left them reeling.

But a chance to capture silverware — and end Leinster's double hopes in the process — is not something Munster will give up easily.

“I think when it comes to Munster and Leinster they have helped each other over the years with the rivalry and pushing each other on,” said Munster captain Paul O'Connell.

“It is going to be a very tough challenge for us with the form they are in. We are going to need to take every opportunity we get.”

Munster are unchanged but Leinster show three switches from last weekend.

Fergus McFadden replaces injured centre Gordon D'Arcy, prop Heinke van der Merwe takes over from Cian Healy and Shane Jennings starts at openside flanker, with Sean O'Brien moving to blindside duties.

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