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Good Second Half Seals It For Munster

February 4, 2010 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

A much improved second half performance that yielded tries for Dave Ryan and captain Peter O’Mahony saw Munster run out comfortable 28-11 winners over Connacht at a well attended Thomond Park Stadium.

 Although they were far from perfect in the opening half they led 14-6 but ended that period reduced to 14 after Dave Sherry stretched refree Leo Colgan’s patience too far and earned himself 10 minutes in the sin bin.

However, Munster made light of his absence and by the time he returned to the fray, they’d already upped the ante to take control of this match. Once restored to their full complement they dominated the second half and it was only at the death that Connacht managed to lift the siege and score a consolation try from their number 8 Mike McComish.

Three Declan Cusack penalties and a try from Danny Barnes had Munster leading 14-6 at half time but their discipline cost them dearly at times particularly when Sherry was singled out for a yellow card that might have been presented to a number of his colleagues.

Connacht enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and took the lead when out-half Miah Nicora kicked them into a 3 point lead with a penalty. It was a lead that lasted all of three minutes, Declan Cusack converting a penalty from the left and the Munster 10 improved on that in the 14th minute, his penalty from the right, squirting over off the left right upright.

Connacht levelled with another Nicora penalty as Munster continued to rack up the penalties but in the 22nd minute good hands from Tom Gleeson – after a probing Dave Ryan run – put Danny Barnes in for the opening try. 
 Cusack missed the conversion but added a 26th minute penalty and as Munster continued to rack up the penalty count, Nicora had the opportunities to reduce the deficit but was wide on two occasions.

Whatever coaches Anthony Foley and Ian Costello said to their players at half time had the desired effect because there was a new purpose to them in the second half.

Replacement Tommy O’Donnell ran strong and straight in the 52nd minute, Ryan and  O’Mahony took it on and when the movement went right Connacht were unable to stem the flow and Ryan, who had an impressive night, crashed over for the try.

Munster kept the pressure on the westerners who rarely were allowed out of their own 22 and in the 62nd minute when they probed down the blindside O’Mahony was on hand to score his side’s third try.

Munster: D Riordan; C O’Boyle (M Kelliher 70 mins), D Barnes, T Gleeson (I Dineen 63 mins), R O’Mahony (S Scanlon 51 mins); D Cusack, P Rowley (C Murray 50 min); D Ryan (Pa O’Regan  70 mins), S Henry (D Varley 50 mins), S Archer; E Kelly (S Duggan70 mins), D Foley; D Sherry (B Holland 60 mins), E Grace (T O’Donnell 14 mins), P O’Mahony capt.

Connacht: T O’Halloran; F Gormley, B Touhy, A Wynne, C O’Loughlin; M Nicora, A Kennedy; C Higgins, D Murphy, J Hagan; L Scahill, S Casey; E McKeon, J O’Connor, M McComish capt. Replacements: A Flavin, J Robinson, J Moran, M Dolan, D Clarke, C Murphy, C Conroy.

D Cusack 3P 2C; D Barnes 1T; D Ryan 1T; P O'Mahony 1T
M Nicora 2P ; M McComish 1T
D Riordan; C O'Boyle, D Barnes, T Gleeson, R O'Mahony (Garryowen); D Cusack, P Rowley; D Ryan, S Henry (UL Bohs), S Archer; E Kelly (UL Bohs), D Foley; D Sherry (Garryowen), E Grace, P O'Mahony capt. Replacements: D Varley, Pa O'Regan, B Holland, T O'Donnell, C Murray, M Kelliher (Richmond), S Scanlon (UCC), S Duggan (Shannon), I Dineen (UCC).
T O'Halloran; F Gormley, B Touhy, A Wynne, C O'Loughlin; M Nicora, A Kennedy; C Higgins, D Murphy, J Hagan; L Scahill, S Casey; E McKeon, J O'Connor, M McComish capt. Replacements: A Flavin, J Robinson, J Moran, M Dolan, D Clarke, C Murphy, C Conroy.

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