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Worthy Munster overcome wind, rain and Warriors

(JJ Hanrahan won his 100th Munster cap tonight in Glasgow)

Guinness PRO14 Championship:
Glasgow Warriors 13, Munster 27.
MUNSTER made it four out of four for the Irish provinces this week when they showed tremendous courage and tenacity to record a bonus point win over Glasgow Warriors in Scotstoun. They also increased their winning run to six tonight with a display that showed how united and committed this squad of players are. Even when they were reduced to 14 players at a crucial period of another physical battle, they somehow found the strength to overcome the Scots on their own patch
On a night for ducks in Glasgow, Munster just about deserved their four point advantage after a torrid first half battle. Limerickman Sean Kennedy called the tune early for the Scottish side in the first ten minutes but it was the visitors who put the first points on the board. Nash and Scannell made good yards to set up the attack and after two penalty lineout mauls, captain Billy Holland burst over with Ben Healy judging the tricky wind perfectly to give his side a seven point lead with 12 minutes played.
Right from the restart, Glasgow had clawed back five points. Former Scoil Ide, Corbally student Kennedy made a smart break, Seymour carried it on and Glenn Bryce got over to bring the score to 5-7 . Ben Healy then kicked the ball dead to give the home side good territory advantage and it paid off, Brandon Thompson landing a penalty to give the Warriors a one point lead, 8-7.
It looked as if the water break energized the visitors and when Healy popped a penalty to touch 15 metres out, Fineen Wycherley got over the try line. Healy’s conversion clipped the wrong side of the upright as Munster went back into that 8-12 lead that they held at half time.
Fierce Munster pressure from the restart was repelled by the Warriors but a Ben Healy penalty pushed his side 8-15 in front with 46 minutes played. When Billy Holland was sent to the bin things looked bad for Munster and Grant Stewart dotted down after intense pressure from the home side. Thompson’s conversion attempt fell short of the posts.
It was a game that saw more punches thrown than a Katie Taylor bout and there could well have been more cards shown than the ones brandished to Holland and Wilson. Munster finished in style. On 68 minutes Gavin Coombes once again proved his worth when he got on the end of a mighty Munster maul, converted by Healy to increase the lead to 13-22.
JJ Hanrahan came on for his 100th appearance for the Irish province and with three minutes remaining Jean Kleyn crashed over despite the tackle of Sean Kennedy to secure the winning bonus point.
This was another superb display by Munster and extends their winning run to six wins on the trot in this competition. Whatever the opposition, whether it is home or away, sunshine or rain this Munster side look special and some of the more experienced players in the squad must be looking over their shoulders these days.
This was a game that required total commitment, bravery and quality and once again the Reds delivered. Dare we dream? Are we looking at a side that can go all the way in at least one of the two major competitions this season? If their recent form is anything to go on, chance a few Euros on Munster for the double!
Glasgow Warriors: Glenn Bryce, Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Robbie Fergusson, Robbie Nairn, Pete Horne, Sean Kennedy; Aki Seiuli, Grant Stewart, Enrique Pieretto, Lewis Bean, Rob Harley, Ryan Wilson (C), Tom Gordon, TJ Ioane.
Replacements: Johnny Matthews, Alex Allan, D’arcy Rae, Hamish Bain, Fotu Lokotui, Caleb Korteweg, Brandon Thomson, Niko Matawalu.
Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Rory Scannell, Damian de Allende, Matt Gallagher; Ben Healy, Craig Casey; James Cronin, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland ©; Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Sullivan, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Josh Wycherley, Keynan Knox, Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell, Nick McCarthy, JJ Hanrahan, Dan Goggin.
Referee: Adam Jones (WRU, 5th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Ben Blain, Fin Brown (both SRU)
TMO: Sam Grove-White (SRU)

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