Saturday 24 February 2018

First-half blitz proves decisive as Munster book B&I semi spot

Munster A 26 Ulster A 3

Darren O'Shea scored a try for Munster A. Phot: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Darren O'Shea scored a try for Munster A. Phot: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Ulster representative teams seldom travel well to other Irish venues and this proved to be the case again when Munster qualified for the semi-finals of British & Irish Cup at Independent Park, Cork.

It was all as good as over by the interval when the home team opened up a 23-3 advantage.

Ulster played better after the restart but maybe Munster eased off as they no longer needed to push on for a bonus point.

Out-half Dave Johnston kicked a penalty after three minutes and Ulster's Brett Johnston failed with one before levelling on eight minutes.

Midway through Johnston landed a long effort from close to 40 yards and four minutes later the lead was increased.

Following a number of phases space was created for Darren O'Shea to go in for Johnston to goal.

The northerners had Conor Joyce yellow-carded and Munster took advantage when former Ulster player Sam Arnold went in at the right hand corner to make it 20-3.

Another infringement result in another Johnston penalty.

After the restart, and despite the deficit, the visitors started to play their best rugby.

David Busby, Aaron Cairns, Nick Timoney and Peter Browne all put in creditable displays but the home defence could not be breached.

On the hour scrum-half David Shanahan came closest to reducing the arrears after a quickly taken penalty.

He made ground but was bundled into touch a couple of metres short.

Two minutes from time Johnston added his fourth penalty.

Munster A - S Fitzgerald; D Goggin, S Arnold, C Bohane (c), G O'Shea; D Johnston, J Poland; P McCabe, K O'Byrne, B Scott, J Madigan, D O'Shea, S O' Connor, C Oliver, R Copeland. Reps: D Casey, L O'Connor, R Burke, B Faloon, J Foley, A Griesel, S McMahon.

Ulster A - D Busby, A Cairns, J Owens, M Best (c), C Kelly, B Herron, D Shanahan, T O'Hagan, J Murphy, R Luton, P Browne, A Thompson, N Timoney, C Joyce, M Rea. Reps: Z McCall, R Kane, J Donnan, C Boomer, A Magrath, K Keane, J Jordan.

Irish Independent

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