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Impressive Munster mark official surface opening with stylish performance

(Pictured, Joey Carbery had another fine game tonight. Pic: Joe Buckley)
Guinness PRO14:
Munster 49, Ospreys 13
SEVEN tries, seven conversions, some magnificent running patterns and super individual performances combined to ensure another bonus point home win for Munster tonight in Irish Independent Park in Cork. It was a fitting way to mark the official opening of the new 3G surface at the venue and the homesters did it in style.
Such was their dominance you could have taken your pick from a host of performers in the red shirt for the man of the match award but Chris Cloete stood out amongst a glittering horde on a night that re-establishes Munster as serious contenders for silverware this season.
In an almost faultless first half for the home side, Munster deservedly led 28-6 at half time with a bonus point win already looking like a formality. The Ospreys had their moments, Sam Davies kicking two penalties, but it was the red shirts that dominated with starters Tadhg Beirne, Joe Carbery, Andrew Conway and Peter O’Mahony all making a massive difference.
The number ten scored a terrific second Munster try on 21 minutes to the delight of the big attendance, snapping up a poor exit kick and racing through two defenders for a touchdown which he converted himself.
Munster had taken the lead on 17 minutes when they were awarded a penalty try, the Ospreys responded with a Sam Davies penalty to make it 7-3 but it was 21-6 to the homesters on 27 minutes when James Cronin went over for a try after a great rob by Peter O’Mahony, converted again by Carbery.
The visitors had a man sent to the bin on the stroke of half time, Munster availed of the extra man in the pack and pushed over for Rhys Marshall to ground the ball for his second try in two outings. Joe Carbery converted for a 28-6 half time lead.
Three minutes into the second half the pack set up a fifth try, hooker Rhys Marshall getting his second one of the night and within a few minutes the lead had moved to 42-6 with Peter O’Mahony grabbing an intercept in midfield and Arno Botha dotting down over the try line after good work by Sweetnam.
Within the ten minutes that Ospreys’ Adam Beard was in the sin-bin, Munster had increased their lead by 21 points.
In fairness to the Welsh side, they ignored the scoreboard, kept the heads down and tried to play as much rugby as they were allowed to. They got some reward when left wing Luke Morgan availed of a bouncing ball to run clear for a well-taken try, which Sam Davies converted, but that was as good as it got. Munster continued to dominate with man of the match Chris Cloete devastating at the break-down, Arno Botha made a superb break and Darren Sweetnam showed clever footwork to out-fox the Ospreys’ defence for try number seven, converted this time by Ian Keatley.
Right at the end Munster came within a whisker of try number eight, Tommy O’Donnell made a dazzling run, his pass to James Hart was crisp but Hanno Dirksen spoiled the chance with a brilliant saving tackle.
It was a night when Joey Carbery really showed his class both as an attacking ten and a place-kicker (landing six out six shots at the posts). Tadhg Beirne was prominent and overall this performance, even allowing that the Ospreys were without a lot of their first-choicers, will sound warning bells to the others in Munster’s Conference.
Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Sammy Arnold, Dan Goggin, Darren Sweetnam; Joey Carbery, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Tadhg Beirne, Darren O’Shea; Peter O’Mahony (C), Chris Cloete, Arno Botha.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Tommy O’Donnell, James Hart, Ian Keatley, Jaco Taute.
Ospreys team to play Munster
Ospreys: James Hook; Tom Williams, Joe Thomas, Cory Allen, Luke Morgan; Sam Davies, Tom Habberfield; Rhodri Jones, Scott Baldwin, Tom Botha; Giorgi Nemsadze, Adam Beard; Olly Cracknell (Capt), Morgan Morris, Sam Cross
Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Alex Jeffries, 19 James Ratti, 20 Guido Volpi, 21 Matthew Aubrey, 22 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 23 Hanno Dirksen.

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