Limerick Rugby
Don't Miss

It’s ‘the same old’ as brave Munster come up short in another cup semi-final

By Aidan Corr
RDS, Dublin
Guinness PRO14 Championship:
Leinster 16, Munster 15
FOR many reasons, this was a ‘must win’ game for Munster today and had they not been on the wrong end of a refereeing decision in the final play, they could well have snatched a dramatic and historic victory over the ‘old enemy.’ It was a tight call but on the overall play, Leinster just about deserved their ticket to next Saturday’s final and a season’s grand slam.
Munster started well but that little bit of killer instinct, missing this season, was again evident. On their first real attack, Leinster got first blood, Nacewa and Lowe combining and Jack Conan powering over for a well-worked try which Joey Carberry converted. Munster responded with a JJ Hanrahan penalty, cancelled out by a similar effort by Ross Byrne to send the teams in with Leinster leading 10-3.
The second half was equally hard-fought. Successive Leinster penalties and a Keith Earls try for Munster brought the score to 16-8 and with the clock edging towards the red, Gerhardt Grobler brushed the ball off the post padding to the satisfaction of the TMO and Ian Keatley booted over the easy conversion.
The last few minutes were nail-biting. Leinster looked panicky from the re-start, Simon Zebo was a hair’s breadth away from breaking clear with open country beckoning, Earls Rory Scannell, Steadnam and Murray all made ground and when Dave Kilcoyle darted throrugh a gap to set up a possible Keatley drop goal attempt that could have given the Reds victory, referee Stuart Berry whistled Munster for holding on and that was that.
This game, in ways, was a replica of the defeat by Racing 92 in the semi-final of the Champions Cup. Like the curate’s egg Munster’s performance was good in parts, the late scores only putting a bit of gloss on the result. As in Bordeaux, they finished strongly but in each semi-final, it was frustratingly too late.
There will be a bit of Munster Rugby soul-searching in the months ahead. Some of the problems are obvious such as the out-half issue and some players’ mileage on the clock. of those on the matchday squad

Leinster: Joey Carbery; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Isa Nacewa, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Se├ín Cronin, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, James Ryan; Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan. Replacements, James Tracy, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Scott Fardy, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Rory O’Loughlin, Barry Daly.
Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Ciaran Parker, Gerbrandt Grobler, Robin Copeland, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Darren Sweetnam.
Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login