Munster got their preseason fixtures off to a good start with a 32-28 win over London Irish at Musgrave Park in Cork.
There were some familiar faces as former Ireland and Munster head coach, Declan Kidney returned to Cork as Technical Consultant of London Irish along with former Ulster Director of Rugby and Ireland coach, Les Kiss.
Despite dominating the opening exchanges of the game, it was London Irish who scored the match’s first try when Matt Williams touched down after a loose Stephen Fitzgerald passed was hacked up the field by the away side.
Munster hit back straight away but it this time it was Irish with a similar mistake. Darren Sweetnam nudged the ball over the line before touching down after Dan Goggin had kicked the ball ahead after London Irish threw a pass to the ground. JJ Hanrahan was wide with the conversion so Munster were 5-7 down after 17 minutes.
Sweetnam who was the standout performer in the opening 40, was causing the visitors all sorts of problems but it was prop Brian Scott who got Munster’s second try from close range after Declan Kidney’s side made a catastrophic mistake on an exit attempt.
A JJ Hanrahan drop goal and another try through Dan Goggin had Munster leading 20-14 at the break, the deficit reduced by a late Irish try through a rolling maul.
A raft of changes were made by both sides at the break and the home side finally put some breathing space between themselves and their visitors when Mike Sherry bundled over after a strong rolling maul. Ian Keatley nailed the touchline conversion to make it 27-14.
With six minutes left to go, Munster scored their fifth try to put some gloss on the scoreline at the time and it was awarded to Sherry to give him his second try of the night. Keatley was unsuccessful with the conversion but then the visitors gave Munster a scare through two late tries from former England international Topsy Ojo and Scott Steele.
However, Stephen Myler’s conversion of Steele’s try was the last kick of the game to leave Munster with a narrow win.