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Saturday 30 August 2014

Munster come up short

Published 27/04/2013 | 20:16

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Denis Hurley scored Munster's solitary try

Munster's brave bid to derail Clermont Auvergne's march to their first Heineken Cup title fell short in a cagey 16-10 semi-final defeat in Montpellier.

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Morgan Parra converted Napolioni Nalaga's ninth-minute try and landed three penalties as the much-fancied French club booked their place in the Dublin decider on Saturday, May 18.

Stade de la Mosson witnessed a stunning show of colour and noise from both sets of fans, with Clermont displaying a mental toughness late on that they have lacked in previous seasons.

They banished the blues of Bordeaux from 12 months ago when they fell at the semi-final hurdle to Leinster, deservedly pulling through against a defiant Munster side.

Vern Cotter's men gave glimpses of their enviable power and pace in the opening half, shooting into a 13-3 interval lead in the partisan atmosphere.

Munster dug deep to get back within striking distance when a converted try from replacement Denis Hurley cancelled out Parra's third penalty.

That set up a tense climax during which Parra knocked a penalty attempt wide and although Casey Laulala went close to a second try for the Irish province, Clermont held on to seal their maiden final appearance.

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