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Corry treasures 'huge' Limerick win

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Victory over defending European champions Munster will not be forgotten in a hurry by anyone who was at Thomond Park on Saturday. And for captain Martin Corry, it will stay in his memory as one of his finest days in rugby.

Corry, who had said before the game that he had always wanted to play at Munster's fabled Limerick home ground, loved every minute of it as Tigers triumphed 13-6 and booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.

"This is a fantastic place to come and play," the Tigers No.8 said. "The crowd here are completely passionate about their rugby and it is an inspirational place to come. I think the win is incredibly special, a real one to savour, especially after losing the first game in the tournament at Welford Road. Everyone was very vocal about having to ensure we did not lose another game after that. We said we had to get ourselves into a position where we would go to Thomond Park with something resting on the match. In the conditions and with everything that went with the game, it was all about every player standing up. And I felt they all did that.

"This is huge for us. As a team or a squad we are relatively young, we have some new guys in this season and to play like that was excellent. The atmosphere in the dressing room was something special. This is a real moment for the players and the club."

While others were working out the permutations of how Tigers could make progress if they were denied victory at Thomond Park, Corry said the players were purely focused on what stood in front of them.

"I felt all week that it was just about us focusing on ourselves. We knew what we had to do," Corry said. "Pat and Cockers did an excellent job in keeping it mentally right during the week. Then the way we started the first 10 minutes showed we were not going to be intimidated. We got on the front foot.

"It was always going to be a close game. We had the upper hand in parts of the first game at Welford Road but Munster showed what a quality side they are and kept coming back. And on Saturday I was happy with the way we were playing and defending, but also always wary of the European champions.

"Munster had a lot of possession but the way we defended was superb and the way we scrummaged was fantastic. There were a couple of real key scrums at each end of the pitch. We pride ourselves on our scrummaging and we work hard at it. It is pleasing when you work so hard on something and get to see the benefit. We have got superb props and everybody buys into how important the pack is. On the defensive scrum near the end they had laid down the challenge. It was important then that you are not going to shove them off the ball every time but if you have confidence in your scrum it will come good. And thankfully it did at that moment."

Corry was also delighted by the form of fly-half Ian Humphreys, one of the more inexperienced players in the team, but one who showed how much progress he has made this season with an impressive display in such pressurised circumstances.

"Humphs has not had a lot of games but he has really stepped up," he said. "His form has not surprised me because I saw how well he played in the win at Wasps during the autumn international period but, especially in conditions like those, the 10 is key. His tactical kicking was good and he came in and bossed the show. He said 'this is what we are going to do' and had the confidence to back himself."

The Guinness Premiership ended the weekend with three of its clubs in the Heineken Cup's last eight - and that should be good news for the national squad, whose get-together Corry was attending after his return from Ireland.

"Going into the Six Nations, Brian Ashton wants to be picking from teams that are winning," said Corry. "When the team meets up he wants to see people buoyed by winning, and that is what he will have."