Paul O'Connell's emotional farewell as Munster fall short
Munster's bid for what would have been their fourth league title fell well short at Ravenhill last night against a Glasgow side lifting the Pro 12 trophy for the first time as Paul O'Connell bid an emotional farewell.
The Scots played blistering rugby in the first half, scoring three tries in 32 minutes, to leave Munster having to chase the game uphill. Glasgow won 31-13.
For Paul O'Connell, who is expected to confirm this week that he will be playing his rugby in France after the World Cup, it was a disappointing exit.
O'Connell - who at one point was held up over the Glasgow line - featured prominently in a pack that was superior to the Scots in the set-piece, but it wasn't near enough against a side whose offloading game was first class.
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Munster's only try came from centre Andrew Smith, another player who is leaving the province now, while the higher-profile JJ Hanrahan - who will join Northampton Saints after playing for Emerging Ireland in the Tbilisi Cup in June - was given a run in the last quarter.
The result was a triumph for Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend, who was winning his first trophy as a coach.
"When I played I saw the Irish teams winning trophies and having great crowds behind them and having massive success at pro level," he said.
"I believe we've had momentum up to this point and with this trophy we'll really kick on in terms of what we can do in professional rugby in Scotland."
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Munster captain Denis Hurley pointed to the opening half-hour of the match as key in his team's defeat.
"It was very frustrating in the first 20 minutes," he said. "We had a few very poor decisions in defence and all of a sudden we are two tries behind - very early to be chasing a game and we have done that a few times over the course of the season. It's very disappointing in a final for that to happen."
Hurley paid tribute to the departing players, and said there had been no fuss sought in the build-up to the game.
"They didn't really want to mention too much about today and the things outside of this actual game, and I suppose it is sad that we probably had more to offer in the 80 minutes, and didn't put more of a test to Glasgow. We all wish those lads well in the future."
Sunday Indo Sport
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