Returning star inspires Munster 'A' to victory
MUNSTER ‘A’ 24 LEINSTER ‘A’ 17
A crowd of around 2,000 turned up at University of Limerick to witness the return to action of Paul O'Connell and while his presence was the dominant feature, this was also a useful workout for both sides ahead of their British and Irish Cup quarter-finals.
Munster will take on Cornish Pirates and Leinster will travel to Bristol next month and the high tempo of the game will have helped their preparations.
Aside from O'Connell's return, Munster were also boosted by the likes of Niall Ronan, Sean Dougall, Sean Scanlon and Luke O'Dea getting game time, although O'Dea picked up a wrist injury.
Quinn Roux played his first game since November for Leinster and they struck an early blow when winger Andrew Conway got over for a try after 11 minutes, with Noel Reid converting.
JJ Hanrahan, who got Munster off the mark with a sixth-minute penalty, landed two more kicks to give Munster a 9-7 interval lead.
The contest became disrupted in the second-half as both sides emptied their bench, with Munster extending their lead when Ronan O'Mahony finished off a good move after 42 minutes, with Hanrahan adding the extras to make it 16-7.
The superb pace of Leinster out-half Cathal Marsh got him over for a try down the right four minutes later. Reid converted and then landed a penalty to reduce the margin to 16-14.
Munster put daylight between them when Danny Barnes was at the end of a good move to score in the left corner after 52 minutes.
Reid pulled back a penalty for Leinster before Scott Deasy wrapped up victory for Munster in the closing stages when he landed a drop goal after good pressure.
Munster A – J Murphy (C Bohane 40); L O'Dea (S Scanlon 39), D Barnes (J Holland 68), I Dineen, R O'Mahony (C Hircock 67); JJ Hanrahan (S Deasy 54), C Sheridan (B Slater 73); J Cronin (M Horan 40), S Henry (D Casey 40, N Scannell 62), J Ryan (A Cotter 65); D Foley, P O'Connell (B Hayes 40); N Ronan (W Ryan 75), S Dougall, CJ Stander.
Leinster A – A Conway; A Boyle (F Carr 65), J Coghlan (D Fanning 54), N Reid, S Coghlan-Murray; C Marsh, J Cooney (P O'Driscoll 72); J O'Connell (J McGrath 63), A Dundon (J Treacy 63), M Moore ( Furlong 68); M Flanagan, Q Roux (D Leavy 62); B Marshall, C Gilsenan, L Auva'a (T Beirne 68).
Ref – K Barry (Munster Branch).