With some of the best young talent in the country on display, the attendance would have expected a game of much higher quality, in almost ideal conditions, and it’s probably just as well that the Six Nations Championship is still six weeks or so away.
It was Paul O’Connell’s second game as assistant coach of the Irish squad though he declined interview requests. Newly-appointed head coach Noel McNamara accepted the standard had not lived up to expectations but took positives from the game.
“We were disappointed last week with certain aspects of our performance and the same again this week but I think it’s a step forward and a step in the right direction for our Six Nations preparations.
“There will still be opportunities for players over the course of the next few weeks with a round of AILs next week and two B & I games for guys who were injured.”
McNamara agreed that several members of the Munster side could come into the reckoning with centre and captain Dave McCarthy among the chief candidates. Ironically, it was a Munster academy player, full-back James McCarthy, who opened the scoring for the Irish side with a fifth-minute try converted by out-half Harry Byrne.
Almost immediately, McCarthy was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and Munster took full advantage, McCarthy creating a try for left wing Liam Coombes with a delightful overhead pass. Ireland retained their 7-5 advantage to the interval but their defensive line was breached four minutes after the restart when a superb piece of inter-passing saw flanker Sean Duffy touch down.
From the restart Ireland surged into the attack and Mikey Wilson saw yellow, forcing Munster to defend for a lengthy stretch until they finally gave way to replacement Max Kearney who finished off a strong attack.
Harry Byrne again converted to make it 14-10. Munster stayed very much in contention until the 77th minute when Peter Sullivan finished off a splendid attack and repeated the act a minute later with Conor Kelly adding one conversion.
J McCarthy (UL Bohemian), P Sullivan (Lansdowne), T O’Brien (UCD RFC), J Newey (IQ Rugby), A Kernohan (Ballymena ), H Byrne (UCD), H O’Sullivan (Clontarf), J French (UCC), R Kelleher (Lansdowne), J Aungier (St Marys), C Daly (Clontarf), J Dunne (Trinity), S Masterson (Corinthians), M Agnew (Ballymena), J O’Sullivan (UCC). Replacements- J Duggan (Naas), D Barron (Garryowen), J Byrne (Trinity), C Ryan (UCD), M Kearney (Trinity), R Foley (UCD), J Stewart (Queens University), C Kelly (Clontrf), S O’Brien (Clontarf), M Silvester (Trinity).
C Hayes (Young Munster), E O’Gorman (Young Munster), K Dunne (Shannon), D McCarthy (Garryowen) capt, L Coombes (Garryowen); P Sylvester (UCC), C Sisk (Dolphin); J Conway (UL Bohs), T McCarthy (UCC), B O’Connor (UCC); R Coffey (Shannon), M Wilson (Garryowen); S Duffy (Cork Constitution), J Daly (Garryowen), J Foley (Shannon).
J Hodnett (UCC), J Wycherley (Cistercian College Roscrea), P Casey (Cork Constitution), R O’Donovan (UCC), D Broderick (Midleton), C Carmody (Shannon), G Lyons (Young Munster), B Healy (Glenstal Abbey), N Randles (Shannon).
John Lacey (Munster).