2011 Celtic League Grand Final
|Event||2010–11 Celtic League|
|Date||28 May 2011|
|Venue||Thomond Park, Limerick|
|Man of the Match||David Wallace|
|Referee||Nigel Owens (WRU)|
The 2011 Celtic League Grand Final was the final match of the 2010–11 Celtic League season. The final was won by Munster who defeated Leinster by 19-9 at Thomond Park to claim their third Celtic League title.
Background and Build Up
2010-11 was the tenth Celtic League season and the fifth and final season with Magners as title sponsor. It would also prove to be the final season before the league was rebranded as "Pro12" from 2011–12. The regular season began on 3 September 2010 and finished on the weekend of 6–8 May 2011. During these stages, each team played every other team both home and away and were awarded points according to the standard bonus point system. This was the second season to follow the play-off structure to determine the Celtic League champion, with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals. The winner of each semi final advanced to the Grand Final, which took place 28 May and was hosted by the team that finished highest in the table following the regular season, which was Munster. The previous week on 21 May, Leinster had won the 2011 Heineken Cup. Munster fielded the same starting line-up from their 18-11 semi-final win against the Ospreys. An ankle injury sustained in the Heineken Cup Final prevented Leinster's Gordon D'Arcy's from starting, Fergus McFadden instead started alongside Brian O'Driscoll in the centre. Heinke van der Merwe and Shane Jennings also started for Leinster instead of Cian Healy and Kevin McLaughlin from the Heineken Cup Final team.
All tickets for the final sold out. The match was shown live on TV in Ireland by RTÉ Two and also by TG4, in the UK the match was covered by BBC Two Wales and BBC Alba. Highlights were shown in Central and Northern Scotland on STV.
Route to the final
2010-11 Final Table
Under the standard bonus point system, points were awarded as follows:
- 4 points for a win
- 2 points for a draw
- 1 "bonus" point for scoring 4 tries (or more) (Try bonus)
- 1 "bonus" point for losing by 7 points (or fewer) (Losing bonus)
|Team||Pld||W||D||L||PF||PA||PD||TF||TA||Try bonus||Losing bonus||Pts|
|7||Newport Gwent Dragons||21||10||1||10||431||442||−11||46||46||3||3||48|
|Correct as of 30 April 2011|
Previous 2010-11 Celtic League meetings
2 October 2010
|Leinster||13 – 9||Munster (1 BP)|
Referee: Jérôme Garces
2 April 2011
|Munster||24 – 23||Leinster (1 BP)|
Referee: Andrew Small
13 May 2011
|Leinster||18 – 3||Ulster|
|Try: McFadden 25' m
Fitzgerald 72' c
Con: McFadden (1/1)
Pen: Sexton (2/3) 5', 40'
|Report||Pen: Pienaar (1/1) 62'
Referee: George Clancy
14 May 2011
|Munster||18 – 11||Ospreys|
|Try: Barnes (2) 32' m, 57' c
Con: O'Gara (1/2)
Pen: O'Gara (2/4) 14', 49'
|Report||Try: Fussell 78' m
Pen: Biggar (2/2) 38', 55'
Referee: Nigel Owens
Ronan O'Gara converted a Doug Howlett try after twelve minutes before Jonathan Sexton responded with a penalty for Leinster after twenty nine minutes to leave Munster 7-3 ahead at half time. The Munster try, which Howlett scored in the corner was the first Munster scored against Leinster since 2009. In the second half Donncha O'Callaghan was sin-binned for not rolling away and Sexton scored from the resulting penalty. After sixty six minutes O'Gara found Keith Earls with a cross-field kick to the corner which the winger caught before stretching to ground the ball with one hand. Munster were awarded a penalty try with one minute remaining, which O'Gara converted to leave the final score at 19-9.
28 May 2011
|Munster||19 – 9||Leinster|
|Try: Howlett 12' c
Earls 66' m
Penalty try 79' c
Con: O'Gara (2/3)
|Report||Pen: Sexton (3/4) 29', 46', 60'
Leinster coach Josef Schmidt felt that fatigue may have been a factor in their defeat to Munster in the Final. He felt that coming only a week after their Heineken Cup win their energy levels may not have been a high as Munster's, "To be honest, I kind of felt that Munster needed it more than we wanted it. They showed a lot of character, and that made it difficult for us to really keep our tempo, and play the game that we wanted to play" he said. Munster coach Tony McGahan was delighted with his team's win saying "It’s huge for everyone right across the board, from the playing group, the management and the organisation to the development officers and young players coming through, and more important to the supporters. They can walk around with a smile on their faces, knowing that we have done something very important in the context of the Magners League season". Munster captain Paul O'Connell said that the game was a very good thing for Irish rugby, "Both sides have a lot of leadership, and no little skill, people talk about this being a good era for Ireland". Munster's John Hayes noted that it was important to win the knock out matches, saying “We were disappointing in Europe, but good in the Magners, you can finish the League phase of the competition on top of the table, but it doesn’t get you anything, it is important to win the knock-out matches".
- "Munster's old fire is too hot for tired Blues". Irish Independent. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Munster win Magners League final to lay ghost of Leinster double". Guardian. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Munster 19-9 Leinster". BBC Sport. 30 May 2011. Archived from the original on 29 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- BBC Sport
- BBC Sport
- "Heineken Cup: Leinster 33-22 Northampton". RTÉ Sport. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Munster unchanged for Magners Grand Final". RTÉ Sport. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Leinster name strong XV for Thomond clash". RTÉ Sport. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Magners League Grand Final: Munster v Leinster". RTÉ Sport. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Magners League Grand Final - Tickets Sold Out". Munster rugby.ie. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Grand Final ticket information". Magnersleague.com. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Magners League: Grand Final Preview". irishrugby.ie. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Munster power to Magners title". ESPNscrum. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Redemption for Reds as old guard rise to the challenge". Irish Examiner. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Munster 19-9 Leinster". RTÉ Sport. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Tiredness hits Leinster's double hopes". RTÉ Sport. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Something special says McGahan". Magnersleague.com. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Munster earn fitting reward for consistent season". Irish Times. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "‘Bull’ to enjoy rest but unsure if he’ll wear red again". Limerick Leader. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- 2011 Magners League Grand Final Official Website (Archived)
- 2011 Magners League Grand Final at ESPN Scrum
- 2011 Magners League Grand Final Photo Gallery (Archived)