Clermont's Lee Byrne paid tribute to beaten Heinenken Cup opponents Munster

Last Updated: 28/04/13 7:28am

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Clermont Auvergne full-back Lee Byrne felt the French side deserved their hard-fought Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Munster.

But the Welsh full-back paid tribute to a valiant Munster side, who produced a gutsy second-half rally before losing 16-10 at Stade de la Mosson.

It was an eighth successive win in this season's tournament for Clermont and Byrne said: "It is a dream come true to finally reach a Heineken Cup final.

"It was the toughest game we've had all season and you've got to hold your hands up to Munster for that, they wore the famous red jersey with real pride.

"We fully deserved to come through with the win. We had a few opportunities (to score a second try), but the ball didn't stick. We got a bit nervy, but hopefully we will come back stronger for the final (on May 18 in Dublin).

"Whoever we face it will be another very tough challenge. We will do our homework and come out firing."

Defeat hard to take

Munster's fly-half Ronan O'Gara said: "Defeat is extremely hard to take after you have put so much into a game like that, but it is winner takes all in a semi-final.

"This is an unbelievable competition and it was an incredible atmosphere. It was a fantastic occasion to be a part of, but the only reason we play is to win.

"There was some serious resilience from Munster and I am proud to be a part of the team. We are growing and getting better as a team but we gave Clermont too much of a start (13-3 down at half-time).

"When we come away from home you ask for character from a team and we certainly showed that, we gave our all."

Asked whether it may have been his last Heineken Cup game, the 36-year-old added: "It's not the time for me to be thinking or talking about retirement. I owed it to my team-mates to be totally focused on the game today and I was.

"I love coming to France and playing, and this competition has given me the best memories. I will sleep on it until the end of the season."

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