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Review: Blood, Sweat & Beers

The 2007/08 season will always be a memorable one for Leinster fans. This was the season when they finally added some silverware to their trophy cabinet after six years of near things. It was a season of terrific highs (beating Leicester and Toulouse at home, doing the double over Munster) and crushing lows (a record hammering at home to Llanelli and losing away to Edinburgh, twice!). Yet it could be that this will be the season that fans look back on as a watershed, because it was the year that we finally found a pack that could stand up and grind out a win with the best of them.

At the start of the season, three Leinster fans, Dave Cahill, Jason Campbell & Myriam McQuinn decided to document the season from the fans' perspective and the result is "Blood, Sweat & Beers". Running at just over 100 minutes, they take us through the main highlights and lowlights of the season, with action from the games and interviews with players past and present such as Denis Hickie, Gordon D'Arcy, Malcolm O'Kelly, Keith Gleeson and the man who became a one season cult hero, Ollie Le Roux.

Our host for most of the games is Jason Campbell as his emotions are recorded as the main matches play out in front of him. Campbell is an articulate host but he won't be gaining the nickname "Mystic Jay" any time soon as he shows an unerring ability to predict the wrong outcomes of games.

The piece is put together very professionally and features a soundtrack that most movies would kill for including tracks from The Smiths, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, Kings of Leon and many more. Perhaps the most amusing use of music though is the 'Duelling Banjos' music from the film "Deliverance" played over footage of the Munster away game in Musgrave Park.

Much of the best footage is of the Leinster fans enjoying themselves before and after games, particularly on the away trips. Along the way, a Wellington boot becomes a regular travelling companion and its' evil contents are knocked back by a number of brave (or stupid - you decide) volunteers. There's some great scenes of the trip to Toulouse with a sing-off with the local fans and some reminders of how much noise the fans made despite the grim weather in Cork, Galway and Llanelli.

Overall though it's a fine reminder of the season just gone and you feel it will be fun to look back on in the years to come. Cahill, Campbell and McQuinn have obviously worked very hard to produce an excellent piece of work that would have exceeded their expectations at the start of the project.

So all in all, very good, some might say outrageously so!

by Jim O'Connor, © 2008-06-17

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