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Winning Start on Return To Thomond

October 4, 2008 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Although they produced their least impressive performance of the new season, Munster did enough to crown their return to Thomond Park with a 25-17 victory that takes them to head of the Magners League table.

Toyota Man of the Match – Keith Earls

The rain that arrived an hour before kick-off did nothing for either side’s ambition to play attractive rugby and afterwards Munster players and management alike refused to use the conditions as an excuse for an error strewn performance. However when Paul O’Connell and his colleagues were asked to roll up their sleeves and work they did so without question to carve out a win in front of a crowd of just over 19,000.

They were given the perfect start when sloop Glasgow play allowed Peter Stringer in for a try after just two minutes with Ronan O’Gara adding the extras and a penalty in the 16th minute for a 10 point lead.

Colin Gregor missed a relatively simple early penalty but added two within two minutes of each other at the start of the second quarter and was unfortunate to see a third come back off the cross bar in first half injury time.

Within nine minutes of the restart O’Gara extended the lead with his third successful kick and then, after a searing break Keith Earls break, Rua Tipoki threaded through a perfect kick for Barry Murphy to score his side’s second try.

O’Gara’s conversion drifted across the posts before two further Gregor penalties left just a score separating the sides. Then enter Earls again.

O’Connell took Denis Fogarty’s touchline throw on Glasgow’s 22, cleanly and quickly off the top. Stringer flashed wide and Tipoki had Earls on a smashing line at pace to bust the Glasgow defence. A perfectly timed pass to one of the most lethal finishers in the world and O’Gara on hand to add the conversion to Howlett’s try.

In the final ten minutes as you would expect Glasgow came hunting to salvage something and were rewarded when Hefin O’Hare scored in the corner. Gregor’s conversion for a bonus losing point never looked remotely likely but had it gone over that bonus would have been no more than Sean Lineen’s game and gutsy side deserved.

Munster: K Earls; D Howlett, B Murphy,  R Tipoki, A Horgan, R O’Gara (P Warwick 74 min), P Stringer (M Prendergast); M Horan (T Buckley 62 min), F Sheahan (D Fogarty ht)  J Hayes;  P O’Connell capt (M O’Driscoll 78), D O’Callaghan, A Quinlan, J Melck (N Ronan 74 min), D Wallace. Replacements not used.  K Lewis.

Glasgow Warriors: B Stortoni; Lome Fa’atau, M Evans, A Henderson, T Evans; Colin Gregor, Mark McMillan; Justin Va’a, D Hall, M Low; O Palepoi, A Kellock capt; K Brown, J Barclay, J Beattie. Replacements: K Tkachuk, E Kalman,  T Barker, S Swindall, G Morrison, R Jackson,  H O’Hare.

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