Rugby

Munster Players And Staff Bid Emotional Farewell To Stander, O'Donnell & Cronin

Munster Players And Staff Bid Emotional Farewell To Stander, O'Donnell & Cronin

On a positive day for the prospect of attendances at Irish sporting events, rarely in the last year of empty stadia have the fans been an keenly missed as they were in Thomond Park tonight.

Munster signed off their home season with a thrilling 31-27 win over the Cardiff Blues in the Rainbow Cup. It's a game that will be remembered as the farewell of a number of Munster greats who bid farewell to the iconic Limerick venue this evening.  JJ Hanrahan and Billy Holland were not involved tonight, but James Cronin, Tommy O'Donnell and CJ Stander, as well as Nick McCarthy, played their last Thomond Park game in what was a must-win game for Munster.

Ahead is a summer of massive transition for Munster but tonight, after a must-win game was secured, was about the players who won't be there next season. Stander, O'Donnell and Cronin have spent a combined 31 years at the club and made 486 appearances in red. Even without the Munster faithful there to send them off in the way they deserved, the players and staff remained on the pitch, and were emotional at times in bidding the three farewell with a rousing rendition of Stand Up and Fight.

Johann van Graan hugs CJ Stander of Munster after Stander played his last game for Munster at Thomond Park. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
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Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

CJ Stander Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Afterwards, coach Johann van Graan spoke to eir Sport and was emotional talking about the departure of "some incredible Munster men."

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CJ Stander, whose Captain's Challenge ended the game, also spoke to TG4 after the game, and spoke the highlights of his 11 years at Thomond Park.

SEE ALSO: The Last Munster Team To Win Silverware: Where Are They Now?

CJ Stander

Michael McCarthy

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