Sunday 17 December 2017

Holland the inspiration as Reds book place in last eight

Stirling County 5 Munster 'A' 31

Jonny Holland, Munster
Jonny Holland, Munster

Munster 'A' qualified for the quarter-finals after completing the double over Stirling County at Bridgehaugh with a bonus-point victory.

But with a lesser points difference than group rivals Plymouth, the Reds had to settle for second place in Pool 4.

In the end, though, that did not affect Munster's chances of a home tie.

Both Plymouth and Munster finished outside the top four, which means both have away ties in the quarter-finals.

At this stage, before the final arithmetic has been checked, it is likely Munster will face the inaugural winners Cornish Pirates.

Munster's focus was primarily on securing a win, but with points difference likely to be vital, the Reds knew that they had to pile on the points against Stirling.

Munster met with huge resistance from the amateur Stirling side, bolstered by four Edinburgh professionals, that limited the visitors' lead to just 7-0 at the break.

"The four drafts in their side made a difference," said the Munster coach Peter Malone, whose side had strong performances from outside-half Jonny Holland and back-rows CJ Stander and Barry O'Mahony.

Fortunately for Munster, Stirling were not able to cope with a pressure patch early in the second half that produced four tries in five minutes from Holland (his second), Stander, and wings Darren Sweetnam and Gerard Van Den Heever.

The Scottish side claimed the final points of the match with a try from replacement Fraser Lyle.

Stirling County -- B Addison; G Lindsay, D Gilmour, B Archibald, R Hughes; S Edwards (F Lyle 55), S Kennedy (AJ McFarlane 70); J Bhatti (K Burney 61), A Moffat (R Kennedy 65), G Mountford (C Hutton 67), P Parker, C Deacons (E Dewar 61), D Basilia (W Bordill 55), S MacDonald, J Swanson.

Munster 'A' -- R O'Mahony; G Van Den Heever, C Bohane, D Hurley, D Sweetnam (N Kenneally 64); J Holland (R Scannell 50), G Hurley (B Haugh 60); A Cotter (N Horan 70), N Scannell (G Slattery 70), J Ryan, I Nagle (D O'Shea 70), B Holland, D OCallaghan (S Buckley 59), B O'Mahony, CJ Stander.

Irish Independent

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