Rampant Munster bring their A game

MUNSTER’S youngsters, with a little help from some seasoned campaigners, turned in an impressive performance and secured a deserved win over Leinster in this A clash in Waterford yesterday.

In front of a vocal crowd made up mainly of students, Munster forced the pace from the outset, and a less experienced Leinster struggled to cope with their intensity.

Munster’s pace and aggression in securing quality ball at the breakdown was a crucial factor as the pack proved too strong for the visitors, despite the huge contributions of Leinster captain Stephen Keogh and Devin Toner.

The impressive distribution skills of scrum-half Duncan Williams was another key factor for Munster on a day when Scott Deasy, Ciaran O’Boyle and Denis Hurley impressed.

Leinster had to rely on the occasional breakaway and Shane Monaghan provided just about the only threat out wide against a superbly marshalled Munster defence.

If the backs set the scene by getting all of the first half scores to help Munster into a 17-3 interval lead, the pack can take much credit too, especially Billy Holland and Nick Williams in the back row, the experienced Donncha Ryan in the middle, and tight head prop Tim Ryan. Leinster, despite the best efforts of Eoin Sheriff and Jason Harris-Wright alongside Keogh and Toner, just couldn’t deal with the challenge.

Munster coaching director Tony McGahan admitted: “It was an excellent performance from a team that was effectively made up of Academy, sub-Academy, development and a few contracted players,” he said.

“The guys were excellent in the first half and it was good to see them keep it going to get that total of 39 points; the fact that they didn’t concede a try was another positive. The defence was excellent, the guys showed a lot of spirit and that’s a strong indicator of where the group is.

“We haven’t had a lot of games but we have put a lot of emphasis on the A programme this year; Leinster beat us last time out and it was a very poor performance, so I guess it was a credit to everyone involved to turn that around.”

Munster’s Academy boss Ian Sherwin was equally delighted, pointing to the fact that 11 of his charges were on the field by the closing quarter.

“It’s good for these guys to get this opportunity and for them to play well in front of such an appreciative crowd. All in all, it was a good day.”

All of which was in direct contrast to the way Leinster coach Richie Murphy felt. He admitted: “It was a difficult day at the office; we weren’t as prepared as we would have liked to be. Munster played very well, they used quick ball very well; we were a bit off the pace and our organisation, defensively, wasn’t up to the mark. Technically and tactically, we weren’t at the races.”

Scorers for Munster: Tries. Scott Deasy (2), Mike Sherry (2), Tom O’Donnell (1), Duncan Williams (1), Conversions. Jeremy Manning (3). Penalties. Manning (1)

Scorers for Leinster: Penalties. James Power (2).

MUNSTER : Denis. Hurley, F. Aherne, K. Lewis, S. Deasy, C. O’Boyle, J. Manning, D. Williams, Darragh Hurley, M. Essex, T. Ryan, D. Foley, D. Ryan, B. Holland (captain), N. Williams, T. O’Donnell.

Replacements. D. Barnes for Lewis (43), K. Essex for N. Williams, I. Nagle for Holland (both 54), D. Ryan for Darragh Hurley (55), M. Prendergast for D. Williams (58), M. sherry for M. Essex (60), A. Burke for O’Boyle (62), M. Kinsella for Denis Hurley (67).

LEINSTER : N. Morris, S. Monaghan, L. Kavanagh, C. O’Donoghue, D. Moore, J. Power, S. Keogh, S. Knoop, J. Harris-Wright, J. Hagan, D. Toner, E. Sheriff, S. Keogh (captain), P. Ryan, K. McLoughlin.

Replacements: E. Crawford for Keogh, M. Geraghty for Power (both 58), R. Sweeney for Harris-Wright, R. Murphy for Knoop (both 63).

Referee: L. Colgan (IRFU).

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