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Team Named For Ulster Clash

May 9, 2014 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Munster face Ulster in their last round game of the season on Saturday in Thomond Park.

With the squad’s strength in depth Munster Head Coach Rob Penney has made a total of 10 personnel changes to the starting line-up that comprehensively defeated Edinburgh last weekend.
 
In the front row Dave Kilcoyne and Damien Varley come in for James Cronin and Duncan Casey respectively with John Ryan retaining his place at tight-head.  Duncan Casey, who was replaced after 30 minutes against Edinburgh, met with a specialist yesterday and is undergoing surgery today on his right shoulder. 
 
Dave Foley teams up with Paul O’Connell in the second row while Paddy Butler moves from 8 to 6 with Sean Dougall and no.8 James Coughlan completing the back row.
 
Duncan Williams starts alongside Ian Keatley in the half backs, while the midfield sees the return of James Downey and Casey LaulalaSimon Zebo switches back to the 11 jersey with Gerhard Van Den Heever on the opposite wing and Felix Jones occupies the full back position having sat out last weekend’s Edinburgh encounter.

Munster v Ulster, Sat May 10th, Thomond Park, Limerick.  KO 18:30.  To purchase tickets online please click here.

Munster XV: Felix Jones, Gerhard Van Den Heever, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley – Capt, John Ryan; Dave Foley, Paul O’Connell; Paddy Butler, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan.  Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, James Cronin, Alan Cotter, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Conor Murray, JJ Hanrahan, Keith Earls
 

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Final Round League Loss To Ulster

May 10, 2014 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

A wet and very windy Limerick saw Munster lose narrowly at home to Ulster in the final round game of the RaboDirect PRO12

In conditions which didn’t favour expansive rugby handling errors were the order of the day with kickers more often than not opting to kick to touch rather than take their 3 point chances against a strong and unpredictable wind.

Munster enjoyed most of the possession for the first 15 minutes with Ian Keatley registering the opening score after Ulster were penalised for offside.  The Munster 10 did well to land the kick as the wind played havoc with ball flight and direction.

Munster’s opening try came on 14 minutes, an initial break from James Downey coupled with lovely interplay from James Coughlan and Duncan Williams seeing the scrum half touch down for his second try in as many weeks.

Munster’s celebrations were short lived however as Ulster scrum half Michael Heaney touched down for the visitors two minutes later, Heaney both initiating and completing a move which saw him ground the ball close to the posts presenting James McKinney with a kickable conversion – the fly half duly converted.

Munster and Ulster continued to trade penalties, with touch still the more desired option given the poor weather conditions.  That said the set piece also fell foul of high winds with both sides unable to secure possession from their own line outs on several occasions.

McKinney was on hand to draw the sides level before half time as Munster were penalised for offside on 35 minutes – Munster 10 Ulster 10 at the break.

The opening minutes of the second half saw the Ulstermen take the lead for the first time in the game, McKinney again accurate, this time kicking a penalty into the wind as Munster were penalised for going off their feet.

Munster’s reply was swift however with Sean Dougall scoring the game’s second and final try minutes later.  A probing kick from Ian Keatley behind the defensive line saw Ulster unable to control possession with Dougall opportunistically pouncing on the loose ball.  Keatley continued his impressive kicking form to add the conversion.

Ulster continued to keep pressure on the home side, McKinney kicking another penalty on 52 minutes to bring the margin back to one point.

After Ulster neutralised an attempted Munster maul in the first half, the Munstermen used it to better effect in the second half.  Ultimately though, lack of precision dogged the home side when it mattered most and repeated knock-ons meant Munster saw little return from the yards gained up front.

Scrum infringement on 63 minutes handed McKinney the chance to put Ulster back in the lead and the 10 made no mistake.

Despite Munster holding on to most of the possession for the last 10 minutes the Ulster defence held firm.  A JJ Hanrahan drop-goal attempt went left and wide and on the 80th minute the young Kerryman was given a penalty chance to win the game for the home side – Ulster’s Sean Doyle illegally playing the ball on the ground at scrum time.  High winds, poor conditions under foot and the fact the kick was from the half way line all worked against Hanrahan in a kick that also went left and wide.  That was to be the final action of the game.

Captain on the night Damien Varley made no excues for his side's below par performace describing it as;

“appalling and unaccpetable in a Munster jersey”.
 
Full time score – Munster 17 Ulster 19

Munster XV: Felix Jones, Gerhard Van Den Heever, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo (Earls 53); Ian Keatley (Hanrahan 50), Duncan Williams (Murray 59); Dave Kilcoyne (Cronin 60), Damien Varley – Capt, John Ryan; Dave Foley (Holland 77), Paul O'Connell; Paddy Butler, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan (O’Donnell 53). Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, James Cronin, Alan Cotter, Billy Holland, Tommy O'Donnell, Conor Murray, JJ Hanrahan, Keith Earls.
 

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