Flying Munster power past Connacht

Munster 42 Connacht 20: Munster moved closer to a home Guinness Pro12 semi-final in some style at Thomond Park on Saturday evening, running in six tries to thump derby rivals Connacht.

Munster 42 Connacht 20: Munster moved closer to a home Guinness Pro12 semi-final in some style at Thomond Park on Saturday evening, running in six tries to thump derby rivals Connacht.

Anyone expecting a grim arm wrestle between the provinces following the fireworks of last weekend's Six Nations climax were more than pleasantly surprised by the fare.

Which was put on in cold, wet and windy conditions in Limerick as Munster moved back into second place in the table, leapfrogging Ulster with a bonus point win.

Six Nations winning captains Paul O'Connell and Niamh Briggs offered a reminder of the last week's drama as they paraded their respective championship trophies at half time - but the game itself had been hard going initially as injury-hit Connacht, battling to keep their hopes alive of a top-six finish, took an early lead thanks to a Jack Carty penalty.

Flying Munster power past Connacht

That was quickly cancelled out when Munster second row Billy Holland opened the home account with a 12th minute try converted by Ian Keatley.

It stayed at 7-3 as the interval came and went before Munster cut loose in the second period.

A try from substitute hooker Duncan Casey, who finished off a driving maul in the 56th minute, broke the logjam before the Munster backs took over.

Six Nations hero Simon Zebo, centre Andrew Smith, captain Denis Hurley and wing Keith Earls completing the rout, with Connacht subs Miah Nikora and Shane O'Leary also touching down as the visitors failed to grab a losing bonus point.

Flying Munster power past Connacht

MUNSTER: F Jones; K Earls, A Smith, D Hurley – captain, S Zebo (R O'Mahony, 74); I Keatley (JJ Hanrahan, 70), D Williams (N Cronin, 74); J Ryan (D Kilcoyne, 59), E Guinazu (D Casey, 52), S Archer (BJ Botha, 52); Donncha O'Callaghan (J O'Donoghue, 64), B Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, T O'Donnell, CJ Stander (P Butler, 74).

CONNACHT: T O'Halloran; D Leader, D Poolman, C Finn (S O'Leary, 66), M Healy; J Carty (M Nikora, 64), K Marmion (J Cooney, 58); D Buckley (F Bealham, 65), T McCartney, R Ah You (R Loughney, 65); M Kearney (Q Roux, 58), A Muldowney; J Muldoon – captain, E Masterson, G Naoupu (E McKeon, 52; Naupou 54).

Replacements not used: S Delahunt.


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