Malone happy with Munster’s victory but not with disciplinary lapses

Munster A 20 Connacht Eagles 12

Malone happy  with  Munster’s victory   but  not with  disciplinary lapses

Munster A coach Peter Malone was rightly happy with the result, if not with some disciplinary lapses in the second half.

“We played Connacht twice last year and lost both so we gave them due respect. There are things to work on; we got to a 20-point lead and lost a bit of ground but in fairness to Connacht they upped things as well, so overall I’d be fairly happy.”

Munster showed more invention from the off and deservedly led by 10 points at the midway point of the opening half.

Jonny Holland came close to creating an early try but had to settle for an opening penalty instead after seven minutes before converting a 13th-minute try from Dave O’Callaghan that came right off an opportunistic steal at the base of a Connacht scrum from skipper Gerry Hurley.

Holland pushed out the lead to 13 points with a 27th-minute penalty as the home side retained control of a lively but error-ridden contest.

Connacht made more handling errors, many of them due to pressure from the hard-tackling Munster backs.

That pressure followed through to the second half and to the 47th minute when Connacht failed to play a ball out of defence and several Munster players handled before O’Callaghan sent Darren O’Shea in for a try that Holland converted for a 20-point lead.

Connacht finally got their challenge up and running when Steve MacAuley dived over near the corner for a 57th-minute unconverted try.

MacAuley got in for a second in the 75th minute and this time Jack Carty converted to peg back the deficit to eight points but they left their brave effort to save the game much too late.

Even with a raft of changes on both sides and the disorganisation that can sometimes cause, Munster remained the slicker of the two sides right to the finish, even if their numbers were reduced following a technical yellow card offence by substitute Ger Sweeney.

MUNSTER A: R Scannell, D Sweetnam, C Bohane, N Kenneally, H McNulty, J Holland, G Hurley (captain), A Cotter, D Casey, P Ryan, B Holland, D O’Shea, D O’Callaghan, S Buckley, B O’Mahony.

Replacements: R Murphy for Holland (half time), W Ryan for Buckley (51, injured), N Scannell for Casey (54), A McCloskey for O’Callaghan (61), R White for McNulty (66), S Hansel for N Kenneally (71), G Sweeney for Cotter, N Horan for Ryan, B Haugh for Hurley (all 76).

CONNACHT EAGLES: D Leader, S Macauley, C Finn, B Murphy, S Layden, J Carty, F. Murphy (captain), F Bealham, J Rael, JP Cooney, D Nolan, M Kearney, M Fifita, D Qualter, A Connelly.

Replacements: C Kindregan for Kearney (half time), J Connolly for Nolan (50), D Heffernan for Rael, J Harimate for Murphy (both 64), P Reilly for Cooney (67). D Panter for Layden (68), M Dolan for Murphy, E Masterson for Fifita (both 72), P Griffin for Bealham (79)

Referee: N Correll (IRFU).

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