Published Monday, 21 May 2012
For Leinster it was the third time in four years they have lifted the Heineken Cup as they showed their class against an Ulster side who were clearly not on the same level as their Irish counterparts.
Leinster could go down as one of the greatest European club teams in history and will secure that reputation if they can defend their title on home soil in next year's Heineken Cup final set to be played at the Aviva stadium in Dublin.
In Chelsea's case, Saturday's Champions League victory over Bayern Munich was the culmination of almost a decade's obsession with the competition.
In a season in which the club finished in their lowest league position since Roman Abramovich's takeover, not to mention John Terry's issues, it is incredible to think they have finally won their Holy Grail with an interim manager and a team who would seem to be past their prime.
As with any sporting competition where there is a winner there must be a loser. Despite their defeat at the weekend the Ulster players can hold their head up high.
Not many pundits or experts gave them much of a chance of reaching the quarter final stage, let alone the final. Ulster's poor record against the reigning champions was cause for concern going into the final at Twickenham and those concerns were proved to be valid as Brian McLaughlin's team were once again defeated by Leinster 42-14.
Ulster are unlikely to have another chance of European cup glory in the foreseeable future but new coach Mark Anscombe will inherit a team containing seasoned world class internationals Stephen Ferris and Tommy Bowe, talented youngsters Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson as well as player of the year Chris Henry and captain Rory Best.
The challenge facing the New Zealander is a difficult one following the success of Brian McLaughlin's side this year but the more pressing concern will be to combine a good Heineken cup run with a first league title since 2006, not an easy task.
The major loser in Chelsea's Champions League success over Bayern Munich has to be Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs managed to win the race for fourth spot and Champions League football next season only to be denied by a Didier Drogba penalty in Munich. The case could be made that Spurs threw away third place in the league and a guaranteed Champions League place with a poor run of form winning only 5 games since February as Harry Redknapp was heavily linked with the England job.
It is hardly a coincidence that they won three of their last four when it was clear Harry was to ultimately miss out on the job as the FA appointed Roy Hodgson.
The challenge facing Tottenham will be to hold onto their key players having failed to provide them with elite European competition next year. Gareth Bale and Luka Modric have made no secret of their desire to play Champions League football and it is difficult to see Spurs concluding a permanent deal for Emmanuel Adebayor without the money they would have gained from competing in world football's most lucrative competition.
Then there is manager Harry Redknapp's future to consider, having failed to deliver Champions League football for the second consecutive season. An interesting few months lay ahead for the North London club with an expensive game of blackjack on the horizon.
Do they stick with Harry and convince their stars to stay and assure them they can push for the Premier League title or do they twist and sell the likes of Bale, Modric and Van Der Vaart and begin a rebuilding process with possibly a new, younger manager at the helm?
Watch this space.