Out-half Cathal Marsh was in flawless form as his seven successful kicks helped overturn a 12-9 half-time deficit to give St Mary’s their first win in four.
“There were a lot of controversial refereeing decisions,” Staunton said. “There should have been at least two penalty tries in the first-half but that’s water under the bridge. Give St Mary’s credit, they played like a Young Munster side in the second-half. We started at 100 miles an hour. We were conscious of our away form and knew we’d have to put in a big shift today. We were over the line twice except for the referee binning two fellas and not giving a penalty try. From that point of view it is frustrating but we should have been another 10 or 15 points minimum up at half-time and we could have had the job done. But we were trying to score off two phases instead of being patient. We created lots of chances but didn’t execute them.”
Both of Young Munster’s first-half tries came from perfectly worked lineout moves. Yasin Browne was the last to pick himself off the ground after a maul off the back of a throw before Sean Rennison powered over after a slick move on the blind side five metres out.
St Mary’s played 20 minutes of the opening period with 14 men after Richard Sweeney and Stephen Bradshaw were yellow carded for offences deep in their own 22. Those sin-binnings were products of pressure stemming from some effective tactical kicking from the away side that gave them territorial edge and allowed them implement their rehearsed moves.
Mary’s were handed a number of penalties in kickable positions and took the lead in the 66th minute when Marsh scored his fifth of the afternoon. But Staunton felt some of the decisions were unfair on his side.
“Mary’s were wounded after last week’s defeat to Lansdowne and you could see it in the second-half, they weren’t letting go. I’m not taking away from their victory but I would question the interpretation of the referee with the tackle-release rule. You tackle, release and then compete but that wasn’t in operation at all. Because the breakdown became a free-for-all in the second-half, Mary’s ploughed in and stopped us from playing.
“We couldn’t recycle the ball because the tackler wasn’t releasing. He didn’t referee the sides of rucks at all. But we had chances to rectify that. If the referee isn’t doing it you sort it out yourself. ”
Pens: Marsh 7
Tries: Browne, Rennison Cons: Lyons Pens: Lyons
R Crotty; C Toolan, R O’Loughlin, M O’Driscoll, C Lilly; C Marsh, D Fanagan; T O’Reilly, R O’Donovan, B McGovern; C Ruddock, S Bradshaw; R Sweeney, C Oliver, N Timoney.
Replacements: S McCarthy for R O’Donovan, K Sheahan for Sweeney, K McKenna for Oliver, G Dunne for Toolan, Oliver for McKenna, O’Donovan for O’Reilly.
B Martin; E O’Keefe, S O’Leary, G Lyons, D Goggin; W Staunton, R Guerin; G Ryan, G Slattery, M Kelly; D Gallagher , S Duggan; A Kennedy, Y Browne, S Rennison.
Replacements: T Goggin for Kennedy, Kennedy for Duggan, Duggan for Browne, D McCarthy for Staunton, E Mulcahy for Guerin, Browne for Gallagher,