Ospreys bosses have paid tribute to the travelling army of fans who made the trip to Dublin for the Magners League Grand Final last weekend.
More than 1,000 Ospreylians made the journey across the Irish sea to witness a historic win over Leinster that clinched a third Celtic League crown in five years for the region, and Managing Director Roger Blyth led the plaudits for the fantastic support the team received at the RDS, saying:
"It was a fantastic occasion for everyone associated with the Ospreys, and I'd like to just say a big thank you to every one of our fans who made the trip to Dublin and really played their part in what was a great night for us. One thing we will never do is take for granted the support we get, we realise that it takes a massive commitment, not to mention considerable expense, to travel to these away games, but once again they were there in numbers making a real noise.
"Our fans were really up against it, with 19,000 Leinster fans in the ground you would have expected them to drown out the Ospreys support but they were excellent and made themselves heard throughout the match. It certainly made me proud to hear 'Hymns and Arias' ringing out, and speaking to the players after the game it was clear that they really appreciated the backing that they got and it lifted them when the going got tough.
"The supporters have been tremendous all season long. They've gone to places like Leicester, Montferrand and San Sebastian, and provided fantastic backing. On behalf of Ospreys Rugby I can't thank them enough for what they do to show their support. We've come a very long way in just seven years since we were formed in 2003, and we can be immensely proud of what we have achieved to date. The support of our fans has been a major part in that, so I hope that they savour our Magners League success over the summer and look forward to the 2010/11 season with real optimism."
Director of Coaching Scott Johnson echoed those views:
"The fans were brilliant on Saturday night" he said.
"We knew going out to Leinster that it was going to be a difficult evening, they don't lose very often at home and a big part of that is the intense atmosphere they create there. For us to win, it was about having to front up on and off the pitch. The boys delivered on the paddock, and it was brilliant to see and hear the way our fans performed in the stands, they really gave everything and helped to produce that extra little something.
"We are still a work in progress, we are building for the future and and are looking to continue growing long-term. Together we are stronger. With the continued backing of the fans we can really look to create sustainable success for Ospreys Rugby, and that's an exciting prospect.
"For now though, it's about enjoying what we've achieved. We've won the Magners League, while we did extremely well to progress from a Heineken Cup pool which contained three sides that went on to win their domestic league title, with the fourth losing in their domestic final. The supporters have been fantastic all the way through the season, they are an important part of the Ospreys family and on occasions like last Saturday, they helped to make the difference. The challenge we face now , players, management and supporters is to continue growing next season and build on what we've achieved over the last nine months."