As we count down to the 25th Heineken Champions Cup final in Marseille in May, we celebrate with 25 Heineken Memorable Moments – and launch the series today with the ‘Miracle Match’ on January 18, 2003, when Ronan O’Gara sealed Munster Rugby’s place in the quarter-finals with an incredible win over Gloucester Rugby.
Munster Rugby 33 Gloucester Rugby 6
Ronan O’ Gara displayed nerves of steel as he kicked an injury-time conversion to clinch Munster’s place in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup in Limerick.
Despite dominating Gloucester with an outstanding performance, the Irish province looked set to be denied a slot in the last eight on points difference.
However, John Kelly’s second try of the game followed by the Ireland fly-half’s conversion made sure Munster squeezed out Gloucester for second place in Pool 2 behind winners Perpignan.
Such drama had looked unlikely in the early stages, as O’Gara and Gloucester fly-half Ludovic Mercier swapped penalties, before Kelly crossed for his first try and Mercier reduced the deficit to 8-6 with his second penalty.
A further O’Gara penalty and a try from Mossie Lawlor while Gloucester were down to 14 men just before the break pushed Munster 16-6 ahead at the interval.
O’Gara extended Munster’s lead to 19-6 with his second penalty, but it was only after he converted Mick O’Driscoll’s 56th minute try, that Munster’s qualification looked possible.
A further O’Gara penalty then set up the opportunity for that dramatic late finish.