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Keatley brilliance swings it in favour of Munster

(Pictured, Andrew Conway had another fine game tonight)
Guinness PRO12 Championship:
Connacht 9, Munster 16
ONE piece of brilliance won this game for Munster tonight in a wet and windy Sportsground in Galway. The sides were level at 6-6 with Connacht bombarding the visitors’ line with 54 minutes played. Munster turned them over about eight metres out, Duncan Williams threw a pass back to Ian Keatley and the out-half sent an audacious kick across his own posts to Keith Earls wing. Andrew Conway continued the move, a kick through set up a Munster lineout inside the Connacht 22 and in typical fashion, it was a maul over the line with hooker Rhys Marshall getting over for what proved to be the crucial score of a hard-fought and tense encounter. Keatley landed the conversion to his brace of first half penalties and snatched the man of the match award with a late drop goal. Jack Carty sneaked a losing bonus point for Connacht with six minutes remaining but that was as generous as Munster were going to be on a night when they again showed massive commitment, ferocious defensive qualities and a high quality of 15-man rugby.
Playing against the wind in the opening half, Munster just about deserved their 6-3 lead at the break. Once again their defence was magnificent, turning over a number of Connacht attacks and with Duncan Williams and Ian Keatley kicking deep, it was clear that the home side were going to earn any points they got on the board.
A Keatley penalty after three minutes put the visitors into the lead but on nine minutes there was a let-off for the Munster men when Kieran Marrmion chased a kick through but the home scrum-half failed to ground the ball.
Jack Carty was short and wide with a penalty attempt on 18 minutes and three times in succession Munster won turnovers as the green jerseys camped deep in their territory. Connacht lost their back-row Fox-Matamua on 28 minutes but the home pace won the first scrum penalty a few minutes later, Jack Carty landing the penalty to level the game after 31 minutes.
Typical of Munster, they replied with a score themselves before the break, Ian Keatley hitting the target with a well struck penalty kick. Halftime, Connacht 3, Munster 6.

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Rory Parata, Peter Robb; Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Quinn Roux, James Cannon; Nepia Fox-Matamua, Jake Heenan, Naulia Dawai. Replacements, Dave Heffernan, JP Cooney, John Andress, Lewis Stevenson, Danny Qualter, Caolin Blade, Ciaran Gaffney, Rory Moloney.
Munster: Andrew Conway; Keith Earls, Francis Saili, Dan Goggin, Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Dave Foley; Billy Holland (Capt.), Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Donoghue.
Replacements: Dave Kilcoyne, Kevin O’Byrne, Thomas Du Toit, Robin Copeland, Conor Oliver, Te Aihe Toma, Rory Scannell, Jaco Taute.

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