Monday 26 June 2017

Keatley the hero as Reds make it six of the best

Glasgow 15-16 Munster

Tommy O'Donnell of Munster is tackled by Rory Hughes Photo: Paul Devlin / SPORTSFILE
Tommy O'Donnell of Munster is tackled by Rory Hughes Photo: Paul Devlin / SPORTSFILE

Alan Lorimer

Ian Keatley slotted a decisive late drop-goal as Munster marched on to their sixth victory in a row.

Munster had surged into a 13-3 advantage, based on rigid defence, before Glasgow fought back with two second-half tries to take the lead.

Munster's Ian Keatly kicks a successful drop goal Photo: Paul Devlin/Sportsfile
Munster's Ian Keatly kicks a successful drop goal Photo: Paul Devlin/Sportsfile

The visitors looked the livelier in the opening exchanges, moving the ball confidently and forcing Glasgow to defend tenaciously before forcing a penalty, converted into points by Keatley's trusty boot.

From the restart Munster again put Glasgow under pressure, winning a line-out on the Warriors' '22'.

From the resultant catch and drive, the Munster forwards advanced the maul and when the ball was released Keatley put in a teasing cross-kick, initially contested and missed by both Peter Murchie and Darren Sweetnam but snapped up by the supporting Andrew Conway, who touched down. Keatley added the extras.

At the other end Peter Horne, having missed with his first penalty attempt, was on target to reduce the deficit, but was then forced off with an ankle injury.

Rory Scannell of Munster is tackled by Mark Bennett of Glasgow Warriors Photo: Paul Devlin/Sportsfile
Rory Scannell of Munster is tackled by Mark Bennett of Glasgow Warriors Photo: Paul Devlin/Sportsfile

His replacement Rory Clegg immediately made a contribution with a long penalty kick to touch. At the ensuing line-out Dave Kilcoyne was penalised and shown the yellow card but from a potentially dangerous position near their own line, the visitors broke free with a surging run from Rory Scannell.

Glasgow countered with a dangerous break, only for Mark Bennett to fluff his chip ahead. It was symptomatic of the Warriors' woes and their inability to make the most of their one-man advantage.

Still down to 14 men, Munster increased the gap with a second Keatley penalty goal to go into half-time with a 13-3 lead.

Glasgow tried to narrow the gap early in the second half but a lost lineout and then a dropped pass did little for the home side's confidence. And things got worse when when winger Rory Hughes retired with a leg injury, replaced by Lee Jones.

The game seemed to be stuck in a stalemate and it desperately needed a bit of magic. It was provided by Glasgow's scrum-half Ali Price, who picked a line from the tail of a lineout to score under the posts, leaving Clegg with an easy conversion.

If one piece of magic lifted the crowd then a second sent them into ecstasy as Tommy Seymour sent Bennett racing to the line for Warriors' second try, to give Glasgow the lead for the first time.

But that late drop goal by Keatley restored the lead for Munster with three minutes of play remaining, and they held on for victory.

Glasgow Warriors - P Murchie; R Hughes (L Jones 44), M Bennett, N Grigg, T Seymour; P Horne (R Clegg 21), A Price (N Kenatale ); G Reid (A Allan 50), F Brown (C Flynn 50), S Puafisi (D Rae 60), T Swinson, R Harley, J Strauss (L Haupeakui 56), C Fusaro (R McAlpine 77), R Wilson

Munster - A Conway; D Sweetnam, J Taute, R Scanell, R O'Mahony (R Copeland 56); I Keatley, D Williams (T Aihe Toma 64 ); D Kilcoyne (T du Toit ), N Scannell (R Marshall), J Ryan (S Archer 60 ), J Kleyn (D Ryan ht), B Holland, P O'Mahony, T O'Donnell, J O'Donoghue

Ref - N Owens (Wales)

Irish Independent

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