Saturday 24 March 2018

Ian Keatley hits last-gasp drop-goal to secure dramatic victory for Munster


Alex Wootton of Munster celebrates with team-mate Ian Keatley
Alex Wootton of Munster celebrates with team-mate Ian Keatley

Ian Keatley scored a dramatic late drop goal to earn Munster a narrow victory over Glasgow and keep them flying high at the top of the Guinness PRO12 standings.

Glasgow looked set to snatch the spoils when spectacular second-half tries from Ali Price and Mark Bennett saw them overturn a 13-3 deficit to lead heading into the final three minutes at Scotstoun Stadium.

But there was to be a late twist in the tale as Keatley slotted over a drop goal to snatch a 16-15 victory for Munster and leave Glasgow with only a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.

While the result helped Munster maintain their place at the head of the table, Glasgow's hopes of a top-four finish were dented after losing a third successive game for the first time since the 2012/13 season.

Munster, in some of the best form they have displayed for years, kicked off in perfect conditions and within 13 minutes deservedly held a 10-0 lead.

Ireland international fly-half Keatley was heavily involved, first slotting over a simple penalty before his high kick to the right flank was knocked down by winger Darren Sweetman for full-back Andrew Conway to score.

Keatley added the extras to that try and the visitors were cruising.

Peter Horne got Glasgow's first points on the board with a 15th-minute penalty - having missed his first shot at goal moments before - but the number 10 was carried off on a stretcher soon after to be replaced by Rory Clegg.

Aside from a long break by centre Nick Grigg, Glasgow were struggling to create anything to trouble Munster and even when the visitors lost prop Dave Kilcoyne to the sin bin in the 26th minute the hosts were unable to capitalise.

Indeed, it was Munster who added to their lead before the break when Keatley's second successful penalty of the night put them 13-3 ahead at the interval.

Glasgow's problems increased four minutes after the restart when they saw winger Rory Hughes also carried off, with Lee Jones taking his place.

The Warriors were at least enjoying more possession in the third quarter, but once more Munster kept their attacking efforts largely under wraps.

That was until the 61st minute, though, when Price scored a superb try. The scrum-half used possession from a lost Munster line-out 15 metres out to arrow to the posts for the touchdown.

Price's try was converted by Clegg to cut the deficit to three points and, 10 minutes later, Glasgow went ahead with an equally spectacular try, this time centre Bennett running in from deep in his own half, down the right wing.

Glasgow were suddenly in sight of a valuable victory, but Munster put in a late push and Keatley's drop goal three minutes from time saw them snatch the win.

Press Association

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