Munster 64 Ulster 7
Marisa Kennedy reporting from Thomond Park
Munster went into this game badly needing a win and a confidence boost after a mixed start to their season. After a disappointing result in Cardiff where the province failed to score in the second half, and leaked tries throughout, all the pressure was on the home side to come back fighting in Thomond Park this evening. Ulster meanwhile, were under scrutiny to see how they would cope with the return from their two-week tour in South Africa.
Irish interprovincial derbies bring out the best in some teams and this fixture couldn’t have come at a better time for Johann van Graan and his men, with Irish head coach, Joe Schmidt watching on from the stands. From the kickoff, it was clear that they were ready for battle and they soon proved that with two tries on the board after just nine minutes and had the bonus point wrapped up by the break.
Questions will now be asked of Ulster who failed to create chances or register a point in the first half. Instead, it was Munster who provided all the intensity. They were off the mark after five minutes when late call-up, Alex Wootton accelerated before feeding Darren Cave who finished with ease.
What a start for @Munsterrugby!!!
Alex Wootton turns on the after burners to relase Dan Goggin for an easy finish.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) September 29, 2018
The ever-influential Joey Carbery found Wootton with an inch-perfect crossfield kick. Tommy O’Donnell popped up on the wing and the Tipperary man shook off the challenge of Darren Cave before crossing. The speed of the backs’ was matched only by the ferocity of the forwards, CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony in particular. The latter earned a penalty steal which Joey Carbery slotted over to stretch their lead to 17 points after 17 minutes.
Ulster awarded a penalty after 21 minutes and opted to kick to the corner. Munster stole possession through Billy Holland but their clearance was only as far as Craig Gilroy. Alas, nothing was going the way of the visitors and an unforced error from Cave handed the home team the advantage once again. They lost Iain Henderson to a HIA from which he didn’t return before Nick Timoney was penalised for a late hit on Rory Scannell and with their tails up, Munster went for the corner. Billy Holland won possession but Ulster were awarded a scrum in the maul.
They were awarded a second chance and opted for the maul again. This time, it paid dividends as O’Donnell was able to cross for his second try of the night but Carbery unsuccessful with the conversion attempt. Ulster struggled to win possession and when they did, they were hunted down and it was turned over. Munster were relentless and from another penalty and resulting maul, the home side stretched the Ulster defence, leaving Goggin to cross with ease for his second try.
Ulster did have a decent opportunity just before the break when Angus Kernohan made a break for the line but there was a knock on in the breakdown and the referee sent the teams to the dressing rooms. It was 47 minutes before Ulster got on the scoreboard and it was a relatively easy effort in the end with the Munster defence found lacking. Cave brushed off the attempted tackle of Carbery and crossed the white line before Billy Burns added the extras. When you are playing Munster in Thomond Park and they have momentum, you are never going to get many opportunities to stage a comeback and it was no different tonight.
Ulster were put under immediate pressure from the restart and it wasn’t long before play was spread wide and Munster almost crossed in the corner. The ball was sent across and Carbery found none other than Peter O’Mahony on the other wing, allowing the captain to get his name on the scoreboard before the outhalf added a wonderful conversion from the sideline.
Munster’s defence was again found lacking when Craig Gilroy made a blistering run down the win. Cave and Burns provided great assistance as the Ulstermen attacked the try line. They worked through the phases but Michael Lowry knocked on in the tackle. Play was brought back for an earlier knock-on and Ulster retained possession. But again, Munster committed numbers to the breakdown and turned over possession.
That possession was quickly worked up the field and Carbery took advantage of the disorganised Ulster defence, making an uncontested run for the line from just over the half-way mark. He added the conversion before departing to rapturous applause. If Ulster were hoping their misery would soon end, they were mistaken. In a double blow substitute, John Andrew was sent to the bin for a late and high tackle on Wootton with Sammy Arnold scoring a try from the advantage. They went 50 points ahead of Ulster moments later when the returning, Keith Earls used his quick feet to add his name to the scoresheet.
Beautiful hands from the Moyross man almost saw Andrew Conway cross but Eric O’Sullivan managed a last-ditch tackle to deny him. A minute later, Keatley sent a floating pass to Wootton who was all alone on the wing and he scored their ninth and final try.
Scorers for Munster: Tries – Dan Goggin (2), Tommy O’Donnell (2), Peter O’Mahony, Joey Carbery, Keith Earls, Sammy Arnold, Alex Wootton. Conversions – Joey Carbery (6) Ian Keatley (2). Penalties – Joey Carbery
Scorers for Ulster: Tries – Darren Cave Conversions – Billy Burns
Munster: Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton, Joey Carbery, Alby Mathewson; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Tadhg Beirne, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Substitutions: Duncan Williams for Mathewson (51) James Cronin for Kilcoyne (51) Jean Kleyn for Beirne (58) Kevin O’Byrne for Scannell (63) Ciaran Parker for Archer (63) Sammy Arnold for Scannell (63) Arno Botha for O’Donnell. (63)
Ulster: Peter Nelson, Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Angus Curtis, Angus Kernohan, Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Adam McBurney, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Jean Deysel.
Substitutions: Kieran Treadwell for Henderson (20) Dave Shanahan for Cooney (31) Michael Lowry for Nelson (43) Eric O’Sullivan for Warwick (63) James Hume for Burns (65) John Andrew for McBurney (65) Clive Ross for Curtis (74) Adam McBurney for Deysel (74)
Read More About: Top Story