Rugby union comment: It has been quite an accomplishment to have two Irish sides contesting the European final at Twickenham on May 19. Both semi-finals had real intensity and could have gone the other way had the losers been more clinical and efficient.
Equally, both Irish sides deserved to win their matches and will bring colour, energy and considerable exuberance to the final.
Ulster continued their improvement this season by beating Edinburgh 22-19 at Dublin's Lansdowne Road on Saturday.
In many ways, it would have been a travesty if Edinburgh had won. Coach Michael Bradley said afterwards that his players now have "a burning desire to win something." A few Celtic League matches would be a start after an extremely poor and inconsistent season.
Their loyal supporters must be pretty disappointed with their all-round showing this term as they will finish second bottom above Italian side Aironi - who are being disbanded.
They have lost 15 Celtic League ties and conceded 567 points in 21 matches, more than any other side in the league.
Admittedly they put in some good performances to get to the European semi-final but they are to some extent a microcosm of the Scottish national team - plenty of possession, generally good ball retention but an absence of penetration.
Against Ulster their stock move was to get the ball into midfield then use a reverse pass, normally to Dutch winger Tim Visser. This can be a good ploy but should be a strike move used in the opponents' 22, not just anywhere on the park as Edinburgh did on several occasions.
Ulster, to their credit, were much more direct, better disciplined and played true Cup rugby, led by a magnificent display of tactical kicking and goal-kicking by their Springbok scrum-half Ruan Pienaar.
He played behind an extremely dominant scrum which was essentially the difference between the sides.
Ulster scored their try from a scrum through Pedrie Wannenburg and seemed in control of their destiny from that moment. Edinburgh will regret missed opportunities at crucial times.
Sunday's semi-final between Clermont Auvergne and Leinster had extreme intensity and both sides' defences - particularly Leinster - were immense.
This match could have gone either way and either team would be worthy Cup holders this year.
The last few minutes saw French centre Wesley Fofana celebrate a try that was not awarded as he clearly lost control of the ball in his attempt to touch down.
Leinster sneaked home by 19 points to 15 but the difference for the current European Cup holders was a couple of interventions from in-form fullback Rob Kearney early in the second half.
First he timed a perfect run into the Clermont 22 and found prop Cian Healy in acres of space to score halfway out and then had the audacity to kick a long-range drop goal to put Leinster in the lead.
This wasn't a game for the faint-hearted and there were no frills from either side, just sheer physicality.
Leinster had to dig deep to produce a heroic defensive display to come away with the win.
They will be aware that only one other side has won back-to-back European Cup titles, Leicester in 2001 and 2002.
Previous results between these teams will have no bearing on the final. Ulster will be all out to add to their victory of 1999 and this will surely be a battle royal.
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