Irish international Tommy Bowe played his first competitive game in six months to help Ulster Ravens defeat Munster A (38-31) in Naas yesterday.
Bowe suffered a serious knee injury in the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina last October but came through yesterday’s game unscathed and may feature in the province’s Guinness Pro12 run-in.
Munster’s Duncan Casey was another player enjoying a return to action in Kildare yesterday — the hooker featured for the first time since rupturing his pectoral muscle in the province’s Pro12 win over Treviso last November.
Ulster had first-half tries from Mark Best, Andrew Warwick, Alex Thompson and Darren Cave, while Johnny McPhillips kicked three conversions.
Munster had tries came from Stephen Fitzgerald and Cian Bohane, both of which were converted by David Johnston to leave 12 points between the sides (26-14).
Ulster extended their lead on the restart with early second half scores from Cave and Rory Scholes with McPhillips adding one conversion.
Munster finally launched a serious challenge and Shane Buckley started the comeback with a try. Alex Wootton sped away for another that Johnston converted and Sean O’Connor grabbed a third on full time.
However Ulster held out for a seven-point win.
D Johnston; G van den Heever, D Goggin, C Bohane (captain), A Wootton; G Lyons, J Poland; P McCabe, D Casey, B Scott; S O’Connor, S McCarthy; B Kilkenny, C Oliver, J Coghlan.
S Buckley, P Poillot, JP Phelan, R Burke, F Wycherly, K Brown, O Lyons, A Lloyd, N Hodson, S Fitzgerald.
M Best; T Bowe, D Cave (captain), S Windsor, J Stockdale; J McPhillips, D Shanahan; A Warwick, J Andrew, J Simpson, A Thompson, J Donnan, S Mulholland, C Ross, L Dow.
Replacements used. J Murphy, M Lagan, C Trenier, T O’Hagan, C Smyth, C Joyce, C Boomer, C Young, A Magrath, D Busby, R Scholes.
Referee. J Neville (IRFU)