Limerick Rugby
Don't Miss

Late try snatches likely victory away from Munster

Guinness PRO14 championship:
Munster 10, Leinster 13
IT was billed as one of the biggest fixtures of the season and tonight’s meeting of these two Irish provinces provided a gripping confrontation at Thomond Park. Leading by 10 points after 11 minutes it appeared that Munster were going to carry on from their recent form and record a much-needed win over their keen rivals. Little did we know then that this would be their only reward over the 80 minutes. There were a few turning points.
With the clock almost in the red as the first half neared conclusion, Munster were awarded a penalty. It was a good distance from the posts but kickable from right in the middle of the field. JJ Hanrahan’s kick hit the left hand post at the Mayorstone end and the chance of going in at the break with a 13-3 advantage was missed. Leinster regained possession and they shunned the option to kick the ball dead and run in for the half time break by running the ball from deep. A number of ‘pick and drives’ from the blue pack brought play deep into Munster territory, they were awarded a penalty and Jonathon Sexton, who had kicked his side’s first penalty,  slotted it over to leave his side trailing by only four points at the break. A penalty from JJ Hanrahan on four minutes gave the home side an early lead and it was 10-nil to Munster when Tadhg Beirne, assisted by a few red jerseys in support, got in for a try, JJ Hanrahan adding the conversion. Munster took the game to Leinster as the second half got underway and they got another chance to increase their lead when they were awarded a close-in penalty on 45 minutes. This time JJ Hanrahan’s effort went inches wide of the right hand post at the Ballynanty end and Leinster were left off the hook once again. Munster’s defence had been tremendous throughout, depriving Leinster of almost certain scores when they were camped within a few metres of the try line. Tadhg Beirne (pictured) was awesome at the breakdown, O’Mahony, Coombes, de Allende and Rhys Marshall continually stood up to the best that Leinster could throw at them but a glance at the scoreboard showed that the four point margin going into the final ten minutes left them vulnerable.
In fairness to Leinster they worked extremely hard after their shaky start, the amount of tackles they put in was significant but they had never really threatened the Munster line apart from failing to gain those final few yards on three occasions. On 69 minutes the winning score went to the boys in blue. They won a penalty that gave them a lineout in the Munster half, they ran the ball in a well-rehearsed move, Ross Byrne’s probing kick produced the perfect bounce and Hugo Keenan’s agility shovelled the ball into the path of Jordan Larmour who ran in for a brilliantly taken try. Byrne’s conversion left Munster requiring at least three points in the final minutes to level the game.
In fairness to the home side they fought to the finish and were deprived of possible scores when Tadhg Beirne and Damian de Allende spilled passes to spoil another late and dramatic comeback by the Reds.
It was a very entertaining game of rugby and no doubt Leinster will be delighted with the win which puts them just a point behind their Conference league leaders Ulster. For Munster tonight’s game was there for the taking. Missed chances proved disastrous for them and the result sees Leinster winning the last five games between the sides and Munster winning just one from the last nine.
Next week-end Munster head off to Benetton, Covid permitting.
Scores and scorers: 4 mins penalty JJ Hanrahan, 11 minutes try Tadhg Beirne, conversion JJ Hanrahan, 27 minutes penalty Jonathon Sexton, 40+ minutes penalty Jonathan Sexton, 69 try Jordan Laramour, conversion Ross Byrne.
Munster: Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Gavin Coombes, Peter O’Mahony (capt), CJ Stander.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue, Craig Casey, Ben Healy, Rory Scannell.
Leinster: Hugo Keenan, Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Jimmy O’Brien, Johnny Sexton (capt), Luke McGrath, Cian Healy, Seán Cronin, Andrew Porter, Scott Fardy, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Will Connors, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Rónan Kelleher, Ed Byrne, Tom Clarkson, Ross Molony, Jack Conan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Josh van der Flier.
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU, 61st competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher, Eoghan Cross (both IRFU)
TMO: Joy Neville (IRFU)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login