Munster steel proves too much for Leinster

Leinster ‘A’ 12 Munster ‘A’ 18

Both sides seemed intent on playing open, expansive rugby and after being evenly matched in the opening exchanges, the visitors were first to cross the whitewash in the 12th minute.

Sustained pressure in the Leinster 22 culminated in winger Ronan O’Mahony showing impressive strength to wriggle over in the left corner after captain Paddy Butler and hooker Seán Henry had been stopped inches short.

JJ Hanrahan was off target with the difficult conversion and within five minutes, Munster’s lead had been pared back to two, as Leinster’s Noel Reid converting a routine penalty after tight-head prop Christy Condon had been penalised in the scrum.

Reid was proving a threat on the gain line and his footwork repeatedly put his side on the front foot. He was again on target from the kicking tee in the 24th and 33rd minutes but was forced to leave the fray shortly afterwards because of a clash of heads.

Munster seemed to take this as their cue to seize the impetus approaching half-time. Hanrahan found his range to convert two penalties, the latter of which saw Leinster captain Jack McGrath dispatched to the sin bin for sealing off at a ruck.

A flurry of substitutions by both sides early in the second half seemed to affect the flow of the game but despite the changes in personnel, it was the visitors who again seized the initiative.

A delightful Hanrahan break brought play deep into the Leinster 22 and after successive phases, possession fell to loose head prop John Ryan on the right hand touchline. The Cork Con prop drew two tacklers and stayed on his feet long enough to set up a maul, which was eventually driven over the line by the combined efforts of the Munster pack. Hooker Seán Henry was credited with the touchdown. Hanrahan converted to push his side into a nine-point lead before sub out-half Cathal Marsh tacked on a penalty with five minutes left.

Scorers for Leinster A: N Reid 3 pens; C Marsh pen.

Scorers for Munster A: R O’Mahony, S Henry try each; JJ Hanrahan 2 pens, conv.

LEINSTER ‘A’: D Kearney; A Boyle, B Macken, J Coghlan, S Coghlan-Murray, N Reid, A Griggs, J McGrath (capt), J Tracy, J Hagan, T Beirne, B Marshall, R Ruddock, C Gilsenan, J Murphy.

Replacements: A Byrne for Kearney (29); C Marsh for Reid (34); T Sexton for Tracy (ht); T Daly for Macken (47); M Moore for Hagan (52); J Conan for Murphy (63); J O’Connell for McGrath (64); J Van Der Flier for Gilsenan (67).

MUNSTER ‘A’: F Jones; J Murphy, D Barnes, I Dineen, R O’Mahony, JJ Hanrahan, P Stringer, J Ryan, S Henry, C Condon, D Foley, I Nagle, S Buckley, T O’Donnell, P Butler (capt).

Replacements: R Murphy for O’Donnell (20); S Archer for Condon, D Williams for Stringer & C Bohane for O’Mahony (ht); B Hayes for Foley (43); D Casey for Henry (49); P Donnellan for Butler (52); S Deasy for Hanrahan (56); K Griffin for Ryan (73).

Referee: S Gaffikin (IRFU).

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