Saturday 27 May 2017

Keatley's late penalty secures points for Reds

Munster 23 Glasgow 21

Ian Keatley of Munster kicks a penalty
Ian Keatley of Munster kicks a penalty
Rory Clegg of Glasgow Warriors, kicks a penalty against Munster
Munster's Mike Sherry is tackled by Alex Allan of Glasgow Warriors

John Fallon

BJ Botha doesn't score many tries but his third ever touchdown for Munster in 103 appearances was pretty important last night as Anthony Foley's men maintained their winning start to the Pro12 campaign.

A home loss to a Glasgow Warriors side with 21 players away on World Cup duty would have been damaging and it looked like that might be Munster's lot when Rory Clegg slotted a drop-goal five minutes from time.

That score, which the on-loan out-half added to six penalties from seven attempts, edged the champions back in front but there was time for Ian Keatley to snatch the win and he showed excellent composure to slot a match-winning penalty from 35 metres on the left two minutes from time.


But the key score had come 11 minutes earlier when Munster, bidding for their eleventh home win on the trot, resorted to the sort of move and score which has served them so well over the years.

They looked set to fall to a fifth loss in six meetings with Glasgow, the most recent being the most painful when they were defeated in the Pro12 final in May, when Gregor Townsend's men turned a 13-9 interval deficit into a five-point lead going into the final quarter.

But then Munster ground out the yards and a 20-phase move ended with Botha getting a rare touchdown to equalise. Keatley converted to put Munster ahead.

However, the champions once more responded quite well. They kept the ball in hand and Clegg, signed until after the World Cup, landed a drop-goal from the 22 to put them back in front, only for Keatley to save the day.

There was little to suggest early on that Munster would need such a dramatic finish to make it three wins from three as they enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the opening half and had an edge in the scrums.

Flanker Dave O'Callaghan got the only try after Glasgow's Tyrone Holmes was binned, when Munster worked a good maul off a penalty to the corner.

Earlier a try from Gerhard van der Heever had earlier been ruled out after the TMO spotted a knock-on in the build-up by Mark Chisholm, but it seemed only a matter of time before Munster would pull away.

The reprieve did not last long for the champions but their response to the try was good with Clegg landing two penalties.


Clegg was key to the revival by Glasgow after the restart and they opened up an 18-13 lead when he landed three more penalties after they took control of the game, keeping the ball alive for multiple phases with 18-year lock Scott Cummings again impressing along with another find, winger Junior Bulumakau.

The Munster response though was good and Botha got over after Tyler Bleyendaal was held up short.

There was still time for the crowd of 5,183 to endure more worry before the end but Keatley saved them after Clegg's drop-goal.

Munster - F Jones (S Monahan 38); A Conway, D Johnston, T Bleyendaal (R Scannell 70), G van den Heever; I Keatley, D Williams (C Sheridan 56); J Cronin (D Kilcoyne 57), D Casey (M Sherry 46), S Archer (BJ Botha 51); M Chisholm (R Copeland 57), D Foley; D O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue, CJ Stander.

Glasgow - R Hughes; J Bulumakau, H Blake, F Lyle, L Jones; R Clegg, G Hart (M Blair 64); A Allan (J Yanuyanutawa 70), P MacArthur (F Scott 73), D Rae (Z Ferguson 29); R Harley, S Cummings (K Low 57); T Holmes (J Eddie 64), C Fusaro (G Hunter 77), A Ashe.

Ref - B Whitehouse (WRU)

Irish Independent

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