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Munster run up 64 winning points as Ulster’s challenge crumbles at Thomond Park

Pictured, Alby Mathewson gave a five star performance tonight in Thomond Park)
By Aidan Corr
Thomond Park
Guinness PRO14 Championship:
Munster 64, Ulster 7
IN a game that started with intensity and finished almost within the spirit of a sevens festival, Munster ran riot tonight in Thomond Park putting 64 points up on a very poor Ulster side. Even at the break the result was never in doubt as Munster were in that kind of mood after the poor show in Cardiff. The performance will not have gone unnoticed by the Leinster camp when the Aviva Stadium welcomes the reds and Joey Carbery next Saturday.
Munster got the perfect start to the game, winning a turnover on the Ulster ten metre line, Alex Wooton roasting the defence down the left and Dan Goggin getting over with six minutes played. Three minutes later it was 14-0, Tommy O’Donnell blazing through a dozy visitors’ defence and sprinting 34 metres to the line. Joey Carberry was accurate with both conversions.
Even after the opening 15 minutes it was clear that this Munster performance was going to be so much better than the debacle at the Cardiff Arms Park the previous week-end. The pace and accuracy of their attacks kept their opponents on the back-foot and they added to their lead on 16 minutes, Carbery’s penalty kiclk sweetly splitting the posts to push the lead to 17-0. Making his Munster debt, Alby Mathewson picked the perfect occasion to show what he can do and on this first half performance he could well hang onto that number nine shirt for some more important games ahead.
Ulster lost Iain Henderson with an injury at the end of the first quarter and when they failed to put points on the board, Munster made them pay once again, Tommy O’Donnell scoring his second try after Billy Holland set up the drive from a close-in lineout. Carbery’s conversion attempt came back of an upright but three tries in the bag and a lead of 22-0 was just reward for the home side. Three minutes before the break the bonus point was secured, Tommy Goggin availing of a firm pass by Joe Carbery to sail over unopposed and Carbery added the extra two points. 29-0 at half time.
Ulster had to show some cause as the second half got underway and to their credit they laid siege on the home line, eventually breaching the defence and Darren Cave got over, Billy Burns kicking the conversion to put a slightly better look on the scoreboard at 29-7 after 47 minuutes.
If we expected that last try to ignite a revival by Ulster, the home side’s reply was almost immediate, Carbery floating a sweet pass to Peter O’Mahony who dived over near the flag and Carbery kicking the ball through the sticks from a difficult angle. Then came the score of the match, Goggin to Wooton far out on the left, inside to Joey Carbery and the out-half skated home under the posts and added the conversion with ease to increase the lead, on a night that Ulster will want to forget, to 43-7. A try from Sammy Arnold on 67 minutes, converted by Ian Keatley, brought up the half-century of points, Keith Earls hared in under the sticks, Keatley converting, to make it 57-7, Jean Kleyn’s try was disallowed but Alex Wooton made no mistake, speeding over for try number nine and Keatley pushed the tally to 64-7.
A terrible night for the Ulster camp but Johann van Graan will welcome this performance in view of the more testing games that October will present to his side.
Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Joey Carbery, Alby Mathewson; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Tadhg Beirne, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Ciaran Parker, Jean Kleyn, Arno Botha, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Sammy Arnold.
Ulster: Peter Nelson; Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Angus Curtis, Angus Kernohan; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Adam McBurney, Ross Kane; Alan O’Connor (Capt), Iain Henderson; Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Jean Deysel.
Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Clive Ross, Dave Shanahan, Michael Lowry, James Hume.

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