ALWAYS THE bridesmaid, never the bride..poor old Munster are this week reliving an all too familiar nightmare. Failing at the penultimate hurdle, despite giving it everything they had in the tank.
To non-Munster fans reading this, I apologise, but my heart is broken and I need to get it off my chest!
You see, I had my trip to Cardiff all mapped out, excitedly reliving that unforgettable day in the Welsh capital in 2008 when Munster were crowed Heineken Cup champions.
I remember it as if was yesterday and what it meant to the players and the thousands of Munster fans who had made the journey to the Millennium Stadium.
Foolishly some might argue, I was cautiously optimistic on Sunday that we'd at least be in with a fighting chance of booking our place there again this year. The maddening thing is we were within reach, but left it too late. How many times have Munster done that?
In case you haven't figured it out, I love Munster and seeing them give away silly penalties to arguably the best kicker in the world was so infuriating. There were sloppy mistakes that ultimately cost them the match and as a fan, that's so disappointing. It's one thing being destroyed on the pitch and not deserving to win, but knowing you were there or there abouts is heartbreaking.
But does it make me admire or support them any less? Absolutely not!
That's the thing about Munster. You invest so much in them, financially and emotionally, that you can't turn your back on them when the going gets tough. It's like a bold child - you're mad in the heat of the moment, but you know it won't last very long. Anyway, I'm sure they're feeling bad enough without their fans sticking the boot in.
Speaking of fans, you have to admire those who made the trip to Marseilles, especially when some had written off Munster before the game even started. I priced the trip, but unfortunately my budget wouldn't stretch. Only for that, I'd have been there!
The so-called Red Army never ceases to amaze me, and long, long may it last.
If I heard it once on Sunday, I heard it 20 times - ‘Sure there's always next year.’ At the time it was little consolation but it's true. There is always next year - and I've o doubt the Red Army will be with them every step of the way.
Munster’s Paul O'Connell shakes the hand of Martin Castrogiovanni, Toulon, after the game. Alas, the dream of a Cardiff final re-run has been dashed for the Red Army.