Sport Rugby

Thursday 21 September 2017

Moloney try decisive as Connacht survive storm

Connacht U-20 16 Munster U-20 10

Connacht survived three sin-binnings and a second-half Munster comeback to pick up their second win of the championship at the Sportsground.

Connacht survived three sin-binnings and a second-half Munster comeback to pick up their second win of the championship at the Sportsground.

The critical score of the game arrived after 30 seconds when Connacht flanker Rory Moloney intercepted a flat pass on halfway and charged clear to score.

Munster, who also had a man yellow- carded in the opening half, ensured a nervous final few minutes for the home side when captain Jack O'Donoghue crossed, but they couldn't quite make the critical breakthrough.

After Moloney's early try, Sean O'Hagan slotted the conversion and a 14th-minute penalty to give Connacht a 10-0 lead.

O'Hagan landed a super kick to push the home side further ahead, before they suffered a set-back in the 25th minute with the sin-binning of centre Andrew McAleer.

Five minutes later, Connacht lost Saba Meunargia to injury, but Sam Sterling picked up a Munster yellow to level up the numbers and O'Hagan kicked Connacht into a 16-0 lead with his third penalty.

Gearoid Lyons got Munster off the mark with the last kick of the half, but they still trailed 16-3 at half-time. But when Connacht lost skipper Sean O'Brien – after a freak collision with the perimeter fencing – they began to lose their shape.

A disastrous five-minute period saw Connacht reduced to 13 men after the sin- binning of Moloney and Rory Parata. Munster mauled over a try from O'Donoghue to reduce the deficit to six points, but Connacht held solid to secure victory.

Connacht U-20– C Gaffney; M O'Keeffe (C Ryan 80), A McAleer, R Parata, E O'Reilly; S O'Hagan (B Carty 67), C Blade; J Walshe, S Flanagan, S Meunargia (A Barr 30); (S Meunargia 78); J O'Rourke, S Boyle; S McCormack (J Dineen 78), R Moloney, S O'Brien (P Hackett 49).

Munster U-20 – S Johnston; A Wootton (A Enright 58), D Goggin (N Hodson 71), S Sterling, G O'Shea; G Lyons, R Foley (A Atkinson 71); M Lynch (S McGee 80), B Burns, R Burke (J Maxwell 80); J Madigan, P Kearns (D Moloney 49); L Nicholas, A Butler, J O'Donoghue (S Dwyer 71).

Ref – S Gaffigan (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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