Prendergast doing his bit for beloved Young Munster

HE IS on a Munster professional contract but that doesn’t mean Mike Prendergast goes through the motions when lining out for his beloved Young Munster.

Down Declan Kidney's pecking order when it comes to scrum-half selection, Prendergast stepped into the muddy environs of Woodleigh Park last Saturday to help steer his club to an impressive 28-13 victory over Highfield in the AIL second division.

Prendergast inhabits a strange role with the province, never fully getting his opportunity to make his mark on big Heineken Cup nights, a figure seemingly destined to play out his best years in the shadow of others.

The AIL may be a far cry from the professional highs of Munster rugby, but Prendergast has lent his considerable nous to his club's cause. His role is simply more than mere ball distributor: he barks orders, admonishes and praises his troops, but in essence he is the side's innovator and motivator.

Prendergast's half back partner on Saturday was Mick Lynch, ever present and ever reliable with his cultured right boot. If Prendergast was the vocal presence then, Lynch was the quiet enforcer packing the final punches.

Lynch has been around long enough to experience the highs of Munsters 1993 AIL Division One title victory before 20,000 spectators at Lansdowne Road. And he has managed to straddle the AIL's halcyon days with today's less glamorous alternative. Even so, his game is still as refreshing to watch and his kicking as sharp as ever.

Even so, he still puts his own contribution into context and he admits his good fortune was down to Prendergast's excellence.

"I must say Mike's side of the partnership worked a lot better than mine," said Lynch afterwards. "Every time you're playing alongside him, you're playing with a Rolls Royce. He's fantastic and can do it all: pass, run, his decision making is excellent and anyone outside him is going to flourish."

The Limerick side's first try came after Prendergast ran laterally from a ruck and picked out Lynch who swept under the posts.

"To score from about five yards out, that's my distance!" said Lynch "The forwards showed great work-rate again, Mikey made an intelligent cross-field break, and I just hit a gap as he found me with the pass."

Two more tries in the second half further illustrated Prendergast's input.

He got Michael South in for another try in the 51st minute and then showed great football skills to chip a ball to the corner which Carey ran onto to touch down. Lynch converted both.

Munsters obviously hope to build on this sort of performance but for now they are simply grateful to have a man of Prendergast's talent available to provide the sort of skill and leadership a winning AIL campaign needs.

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