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Penney Rings The Changes For Connacht

December 26, 2013 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Head Coach Rob Penney continues with the squad rotation this week as JJ Hanrahan is the only survivor from last weekend’s starting XV against Scarlets to start in Friday night’s Interprovincial derby against Connacht, ko 7.15pm.

Last Saturday’s front row replacements Niall Scannell and John Ryan move in to the starting XV joining James Cronin for the round 11 clash, with Scannell making his first start at this level after making his debut last weekend as a replacement.

Donncha O’Callaghan also makes the step up and starts next to Dave Foley in the second row while Paddy Butler marks his return from injury with a starting place in the back-row, joining Sean Dougall and James Coughlan who captains the squad for the second time this season.

Hanrahan is joined in the half-backs by Duncan Williams this week with Gerry Hurley named in the replacements for the first time this season.  The Cork Con man is line to make a return to league action against the same opposition he last played exactly six years ago.

Ronan O’Mahony who scored the winning try in the 83rd minute last Saturday is named in the new look starting backline with Johne Murphy joining James Downey in the centre partnership for the first time this season.

Tickets will be on sale on match-day from 9am from the mobile ticket office at Hassett's Cross and from the West Stand ticket booth from 5.15pm.

Ticket prices: Cat A Stand €;40, Cat B Stand €;30, Cat B Junior Stand €;10, Terrace €;20, Junior Terrace €;7, Family Terrace Pack €;40 (2 Adults and 2 Juniors). *Junior – Under 16 years

Munster: F Jones; K Earls, J Murphy, J Downey, R O’Mahony; JJ Hanrahan, D Williams; J Cronin, N Scannell, J Ryan; D O’Callaghan, D Foley; P Butler, S Dougall, J Coughlan Capt. Replacements: D Varley, A Cotter, S Archer, B Holland, CJ Stander, G Hurley, J Holland, D Hurley.

Supporting Nominated Charities

Munster Rugby have nominated Friday night's game as this year's “Charity Match” in a bid to raise funds and awareness for our two nominated charities for season 2013/14, Mid West Spina Bifida and CUH Charity.

To support the initiative, supporters are being asked to purchase a match programme for €;5 with €;1 from each programme sale donated to help raise much needed funds for the charities.

At halftime, an exclusive, signed “Charity Match Munster Jersey” will be presented to representatives of each of the charities.

Mid West Spina Bifida will also be selling the bands, embossed with “Munster Rocks”, on Friday night at Thomond Park and they are asking all supporters to row in and purchase a band for €;2 in order to help raise much needed funds for the charity. Bands will be sold prior to, during, and after the match and sellers will be wearing red tee shirts with MUNSTER ROCKS! on the front.
 

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Hanrahan Stars As Munster 8 Points Clear

December 27, 2013 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

JJ Hanrahan was the star of the show as he scored all 22 of his side’s points as they made it nine wins in a row in difficult conditions against Connacht at Thomond Park.

Hanrahan scored his side’s only try of the night and kicked six from six as Rob Penney’s side moved eight points clear at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12.

It was a bruising encounter with the forwards prominent and captain James Coughlan was awarded man of the match as the Munster pack outmuscled their Connacht counterparts.

As the rain pelted down, it was clear from the outset that the team that managed the conditions would prevail and there were numerous handling errors in the opening minutes as both provinces struggled to get to grips.

Hanrahan gave Munster the lead in the ninth minute when Connacht were caught offside and he split the posts with a long-range penalty.

Connacht bounced back immediately and went ahead on 15 minutes after two quick-fire penalties from Dan Parks on the right with Munster also guilty of offside on both occasions.

Hanrahan scored the first try on 19 minutes after Johne Murphy pounced on a loose clearance kick and committed two defenders before popping off an excellent offload to James Downey who burst through a gap.

Downey was hauled down short of the line and, after the forwards made a few efforts to force their way over the line, Duncan Williams decided to give the backs a chance and he drew a defender before passing to Hanrahan and he sliced through a gap before diving over and adding the extras to make it 10-6.

Just short of the half hour, good defensive work from Paddy Butler won possession back for Munster and a high tackle by Gavin Duffy allowed Hanrahan push the Munster lead to seven and that’s how it stayed until the break.

Frank Murphy was shown yellow for Connacht just after the restart for pulling back James Cronin after the prop did brilliantly to disrupt the Connacht ruck and hack the ball through but Murphy impeded him as he chased the kick with Hanrahan once again on target with the penalty to make it 16-6.

Sean Dougall, who played well, had to be helped off after 46 minutes with CJ Stander entering the fray before more indiscipline led to further yellow cards for Munster’s James Cronin and Connacht’s Nathan White with Munster awarded the penalty in a kickable position, Hanrahan making it 19-6 after 50 minutes.

A Munster infringement at the breakdown on the hour allowed Parks to keep his side in the game with his third penalty to make it 19-9 heading into the final quarter.

The rain began to lash down as the game entered the final ten minutes with the impressive Keith Earls making a great break as his determination and speed took him past three players after a great pass by substitute Gerry Hurley.

CJ Stander thought he had touched down later in the move but it was ruled out for obstruction but Munster were awarded the penalty after an earlier offside with Hanrahan sealing the win, albeit in less exciting circumstances than he has become accustomed, as he slotted the 76th minute penalty.

Connacht showed great heart to touch down late on through substitute Dave Heffernan with Parks converting to gain a late losing bonus point for his side. 

Alan Cotter came on for his Munster debut when James Cronin was sent to the sin-bin and Young Munster’s Ger Slattery came on late in the game for his first Munster appearance. Gerry Hurley also featured off the bench and played well in his first competitive Munster appearance in six years.

Munster: D Hurley; K Earls, J Murphy (I Dineen 69), J Downey, R O'Mahony; JJ Hanrahan (J Holland 77), D Williams (G Hurley 60); J Cronin, N Scannell (G Slattery 77), J Ryan (S Archer 60); D O'Callaghan, D Foley (B Holland 69); P Butler (A Cotter 49-59), S Dougall (CJ Stander 46), J Coughlan Capt. Replacements: G Slattery, A Cotter, S Archer, B Holland, CJ Stander, G Hurley, J Holland, I Dineen.

Connacht: G Duffy; F Carr, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy; D Parks, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White; M Kearney, C Clarke Capt; A Browne, J Muldoon, E McKeon. Replacements: D Heffernan D Buckley, R Ah You, A Muldowney, G Naoupu, K Marmion, J Carty, D Leader
  

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