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Munster go top of the Guinness Pro 12

(Pictured, Robin Copeland, outstanding outing)

TODAY’S games may change the placings but last night’s win over Ulster in Thomond Park puts Munster top of the Guinness Pro 12 League.
It was a bit like a curate’s egg of a performance but the reds held out, Ian Humphreys missing a conversion at the death that could have given Ulster victory.
There will be some concern about how Munster lost a 21-12 lead with 26 minutes to go forcing them to sweat a bit in a nail-biting closing blitz from Ulster. Twice the visiting pack drove Munster back over their own line before they finally grounded the ball to the satisfaction of the TMO.
Ulster had a great start and four penalties from Ian Humphreys had them 12-0 to the good with 19 minutes gone on the clock. It was 24 minutes before the home side gave their fans something cheer about, Keatley making up for an earlier miss by splitting the posts from a close-in penalty. Two mistakes from Ulster gifted Munster good possession with Ronan O’Mahony breaking the gainline to set up a try by Robin Copeland. Keatley was wide with the conversion as his side trailed 8-12.
A poor final pass by ‘Keats’ wasted a try chance and the sides went into with Ulster leading by four points.
Duncan Williams, who had a fine game, got reward for his awareness when he pounced on a loose ball to dart over for a second try for the home side three minutes after the break and Keatley kicked the conversion to make it 15-12 to Munster. Two further penalties by the out-half increased the home lead to 21-12 before Ulster’s late comeback just came up short.
Attendance was recorded at 17,111 (which includes season ticket holders).
Munster back-row was outstanding with Paddy Butler having a good outing, Stander and Copeland superb and Tommy O’Donnell, who came on for Copeland, making a series of good carries. It was not a memorable occasion for Munster’s new centre, Pat Howard. He collided with JJ Hanrahan and had to retire with a head injury after 28 minutes.

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