| -1.4°C Dublin

Leinster made to look second rate

Magnificent Munster completed the League double over Leinster for the first time since 2008/2009 by dominating the PRO12 Interprovincial 28-13 at Thomond Park last night.

This increases the pressure on coach Matt O'Connor as his players were out-fought and out-thought by three tries-to-one.

It was Ian Madigan's shot at rising to the role of general and it didn't start to well when his miscommunication with Dave Kearney cost Leinster the comfort of an exit strategy.

Munster drew a penalty from a moving maul and their out-half Ian Keatley struck the opening points in the third minute.

However, Keatley compromised this by kicking out on the full to invite pressure, soon turned to three points by Madigan when prop John Ryan was too slow to roll away at a ruck.

A period of kicking ensued in which Madigan playedto find grass and Keatley grubbered on the angle.

Dominic Ryan took the full force of Donncha O'Callaghan's hip to the head and clattered against Jack Conan's knee on his way back, leaving the battle for Jordi Murphy in the 15th minute.

A meeting of muscle went the way of the home side when the back row trio Robin Copeland, Tommy O'Donnell and CJ Stander found backs to charge at, the latter squeezing inside Luke Fitzgerald when Murphy blitzed the wrong runner in Stephen Archer for 8-3 in the 17th minute.

When Leinster moved into striking range through Conan's surge and Shane Jennings' patience on the ball, wing Darragh Fanning forced the pass for a knock on.

Then, The Blues scrum marched forward, Keatley stepped up offside for Madigan to narrow the gap. Keatley repaired the damage done to make it 11-6 when Murphy was too slow to roll away at a ruck in the 32nd minute.

The pace was rising. Madigan pulled his shot left after Paddy Butler had not released the ball in the tackle and tight-head prop Tadhg Furlong picked Denis Hurley's pocket five metres from his own line.

Munster looked to have broken the game open when neat play between centres Hurley and Pat Howard earned the front-foot. Keatley's slick hands found wing Andrew Conway cutting a fine line for their second try, converted by Keatley for 18-6 in the 46th minute.

A clever pre-planned move took Zane Kirchner forward and Murphy was involved more than once before referee Nigel Owens blew Murphy for holding on.

Owens banned Darragh Fanning to the bin when the ball appeared to be out of the ruck and Keatley made it double trouble when his penalty moved Munster 21-6 clear in the 55th minute.

BJ Botha's introduction from the bench paid immediate dividends when the South African powered up the Munster scrum to earn a penalty for Keatley which came up short of the posts.

It mattered not. The impact was there for Munster from Butler and their next try-scorer Dave O'Callaghan ducking out of the reach of Shane Jennings and Kane Douglas in the 63rd minute.

Dave Kearney scythed through from an inside ball by Jimmy Gopperth. The onslaught came.

Leinster laboured to find the holes. Conan was the difference-maker, holding off JJ Hanrahan as he offloaded for Jennings to record a converted try.

The humiliation was complete by Munster's unbridled defence as Leinster searched in vain for a try that would have done little to conceal an unacceptable performance.


Privacy