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Ronan O'Gara On How A Team Meeting Cost Munster A Heineken Cup

Ronan O'Gara On How A Team Meeting Cost Munster A Heineken Cup
By PJ Browne

The 2000 Heineken Cup final is one full of regret for Munster. The game ended in defeat to Northampton by the minimum: 9:8.

Source of the regret was the numerous opportunities which they had to put the game away. Ronan O'Gara, in particular, endured a nightmare that day. He missed all four of his penalty kicks, including one at the death to win it.

O'Gara was only 23, yet to gain the experience which would come with years of piloting Munster and Ireland. He had only made his international bow three months prior to the final.

As a team, Munster were also inexperienced. It was their first into the final of European club rugby's top prize.

Speaking on Jarlath Regan's 'An Irishman Abroad' podcast, O'Gara explained his belief that a team meeting on the night before that game at Twickenham cost them dearly.

We lost the 200 Heineken Cup final because the night before we had a team meeting where we didn't control our emotions. We just all sat around in a room and we expressed what it meant to play for Munster and what tomorrow's going to be like.

There were 40 adults and 38 of them balling crying. It was one of those really, really powerful moments.

That's experience, we weren't experienced for the big occasions. We didn't know how to handle ourselves.

We were drained.

O'Gara believes emotion is an effective weapon in sport, but one which must be used sparingly.

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Emotion is crucial. But you can only, in the words of Paul O'Connell, go to the well three or four times a season. You can't do it every week. You just can't. It's not fair. You become insane. It's not good for you, for your family, your body, your head to go to the depths that sometimes you have to go to.

That was his [Paul O'Connell's] capacity as a leader to get us to go to places where you didn't think you could go.

You can listen to An Irishman Abroad on iTunes.

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Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Read: Ronan O'Gara Opens Up Regarding Relationship With Johnny Sexton

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