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Munster pay the penalty for missed chances in epic contest

By Aidan Corr
Aviva Stadium
Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final:
Munster 24, Stade Toulousain 24 (after extra time and penalties)

AFTER an epic Heineken Champions Cup quarter final, Munster went out of the competition today after an epic contest at the Aviva Stadium. The sides were level at 14-14 at the break but the first score of the second half came to Munster, Mike Haley getting a try after a fine break by Chris Farrell and the conversion by Carbery put the home side 21-14 to the good. Another accurate place kick by the home out-half had Munster leading 24-14 and for the next 15 minutes it was Toulouse who bossed this game. A fine break by the French resulted in Thomas Ramos getting over to level the game to add to his earlier penalty and after both sides had half chances to keep the scoreboard operator busy, extra time was needed to settle this game. With the players on both sides feeling the pace of the game, Munster had a chance to win the tie but Ben Healy’s drop kick missed the target by a whisker. Two periods of extra time failed to resolve it but there was more drama in the penalty shoot out.

Munster nominated Murray, Healy and Carbery to find the target from their two chances from different angles and distances but the French were superior from the kicking tee on this occasion and they qualified to meet the winners of Leicester and Leinster in the semi-final. 

Toulouse kicked off and soon put Munster under pressure with some slick passing but the home defence held them up and were rewarded with a defensive penalty. In the next phase Munster forced a knock-on outside the French 22, referee Luke Pearce looked at possible foul play but a scrum to the home side kept Toulouse under pressure. The home side continued to get the better at the breakdown and they popped a penalty into the corner, Kendellen appeared to ground the ball and referee, Pearce agreed and Joey Carbery kicked the conversion. 7-0 to Munster with ten minutes played. Toulouse responded within two minutes, Ntamack using his guile to touch down despite two tackles and Thomas Ramos converting to level the tie at 7-7.  Munster were finding it difficult to find space between the visiting defence, relying on kicking the ball deep without a chaser in view. The home were penalised at a scrum on the 20 minute mark, the French pack succeding in pushing them back at the put-in. Toulouse won a penalty outside the Munster 22 and decided to go to touch but the defensive work of the home pack was superb and they forced a relieving scrum five metres from their own line. Once again the French pack did their job, winning a penalty and then opting for another set scrum. It was a crucial point in the game. Toulouse put pressure on the home scrum once again, they swept the ball wide and there was no one home on the left flank to stop Dimitri Delibes from strolling over with Thomas Ramos putting his side 14-7 in front on 27 minutes.

Munster needed a score and they got good field position with ten minutes of the half left only for Haley first and then Carbery being guilty of errors. A Carbery clearance gave the Munsgter supporters something to cheer about with eight minutes to go before the break, de Allende made progress and forced a penalty but Carbery sliced the ball wide of the left hand goalpost. De Allende then kicked direct to touch which spoiled another Munster attack but the red shirts were not going to lose this game easily. They forced a throw-in inside the 22, drew in the defence and Keith Earls touched down near the corner flag. Joey Carbery converted and the sides were level going in at the break at 14-14.

It was a disappointing result for the Reds and their magnificent fans who made this occasion very special during the game. Now Munster will have to concentrate on the URC and try and salvage some glory in the weeks ahead. They have a free week to recover from what was a particularly testing physical battle but this group of players must be complimented for the manner in which they pushed the holders to the limit over the 100 minutes.

Munster: 15. Mike Haley, 14. Keith Earls, 13. Chris Farrell, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Simon Zebo, 10. Joey Carbery, 9. Conor Murray, 1. Josh Wycherley, 2. Niall Scan ll, 3. Stephen Archer, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. Fineen Wycherley, 6. Peter O’Mahony (c), 7. Alex Kendellen, 8. Jack O’Donoghue. Replacements: 16. Diarmuid Barron, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. John Ryan, 19. Jason Jenkins, 20. Thomas Aherne, 21. Craig Casey, 22. Ben Healy, 23. Jack Daly.

Stade Toulousain: 15. Thomas Ramos, 14. Dimitri Delibes, 13. Pierre Fouyssac, 12. Pita Ahki, 11. Matthis Lebel, 10. Romain Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont, 1. Rodrigue Neti, 2. Julien Marchand (c), 3. Dorian Aldegheri, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Emmanuel Meafou, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 7. Thibaud Flament, 8. Francois Cros.
Replacements: 16. Peato Mauvaka, 17. Cyril Baille, 18. David Ainu’u, 19. Joe Tekori, 20. Selevasio Tolofua, 21. Anthony Jelonch, 22. Baptiste Germain, 23. Maxime Médard,
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
AR1: Christophe Ridley (England)
AR2: Jack Makepeace (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)
Broadcasters: BT Sport / France 2 / beIN SPORTS

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