Ronan returns as Reds leave it very late

Ulster Ravens 17 Munster A 19

Ronan returns as Reds leave it very late

“It has been seven months of long hard work and it has been a mental and physical battle. I’m delighted to be back and to get the win is just a great feeling,” said Ronan.

“It’s been frustrating because in terms of my knee I knew it was going to be six months. Then there were a few issues with my hip and then my hamstring which put a bit of a spanner in the works but I’m over the worst of it and I’m delighted.

“A lot of world-class players and great guys have left the club but at the same time there are a lot of back rows coming through and a lot of competition so I have to try and get fit and compete with them.

“I feel great and the more I played my knee felt better which was great and now I have to get my fitness up to a certain level. The game plan was maybe to get a half but I got an extra 10 minutes which I was delighted with and hopefully I can add to that in the next few weeks and get up to full match fitness.

“It’s been a long day. We left Limerick at half seven in the morning and with the travelling we were a bit rusty in the first-half, in the second-half we stuck to the game plan and got the tries to win the game.”

Munster wasted a chance to take the lead in the first minute when the Ravens failed to roll away from the tackle but Scott Deasy was wide with a long range penalty.

Ulster took the lead on 20 minutes with a penalty from Queens’ out-half Ritchie McMaster who was a late call up for Niall O’Connor who had to withdraw due to a knee injury.

Flanker Iain Henderson made a rampaging run which was stopped illegally by full back Johnny Holland and he received a yellow card and McMaster landed the kick from the 22.

McMaster doubled the home side’s lead with his second penalty on 31 minutes from 40m after Munster winger Ivan Dineen was punished for holding onto the ball in the tackle as he tried to run out of defence.

The Ravens forced a penalty from a scrum and McMaster landed his third successful penalty.

The half ended with McMaster missing a long range goal drop goal to leave the Ravens with a 9-0 lead at the interval.

Munster got back into the game in the first minutes after the restart with a try from Holland. They kicked a penalty to touch and from the resulting lineout Deasy kicked to the right wing where Ronan O’Mahoney fielded the ball and offloaded to the full back to go over for an unconverted try.

Munster had hooker Sean Henry yellow carded on 62 minutes for not releasing the tackler and McMaster slotted over the resulting penalty from long range.

The Ravens got their only try from Dungannon winger Chris Cochrane on 66 minutes.

The Ravens lost the ball in midfield, Munster picked it up but as they tried to spin it wide Cochrane read it, intercepted and used his pace to go 40m to score the try but McMaster couldn’t convert.

Munster got back in the game after Dan Tuohy was sin binned on 72 minutes.

Munster opted for a scrum from the resulting penalty, and replacement scrum half Cathal Sheridan darted over with centre JJ Hanrahan adding the conversion. Munster completed an unlikely victory when the Ravens lost a lineout on their own ball, Munster punched a hole up the middle and Hanrahan went over in the corner and nailed the conversion from a tight angle to give his side victory.

ULSTER RAVENS: R Andrew, C Colvin, S McCloskey, N Spence, C Cochrane; R McMaster, B McIlroy; R Lutton, N Annett, C Carey, A O’Connor, D Tuohy, I Henderson, C Henry (c), S O’Connell.

Replacements: J Burns for Annett (55), J Simpson for Henderson (58), S Gibson for McIlroy (69), J Pentland for Spence (69).

MUNSTER A: S Scanlon; R O’Mahony, D Barnes, JJ Hanrahan, I Dineen; S Deasy, P Stringer; J Cronin, S Henry, C Condon; P Donnellan, B Hayes; N Ronan, B O’Mahony, P Butler.

Replacements: A Cotter for Condon (63), C O’Flaherty for Ronan (50), C Sheridan for Stringer (50), C Hircock for Holland (50).

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