Sunday 21 January 2018

Johnston holds nerve in thriller to grab glory for Munster A

Munster A 29 Jersey Reds 28

David Johnston of Munster A kicks Munster into a 29-28 lead, from a penalty, during the British & Irish Cup Final match between Munster A and Jersey Reds at Irish Independent Park, in Cork. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
David Johnston of Munster A kicks Munster into a 29-28 lead, from a penalty, during the British & Irish Cup Final match between Munster A and Jersey Reds at Irish Independent Park, in Cork. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Munster A produced a magnificent fightback to win the British and Irish Cup for the second time with a thrilling win over Jersey Reds at Irish Independent Park.

The visitors made a dream start, racing into an 18-0 lead in 15 minutes thanks to tries from Nicky Scott and Joe Buckle, either side of penalties from Callum Sheedy.

Slowly Munster tried to get back into the game and their pressure was rewarded on the stroke of half-time when breaks by Darren O’Shea and Peter McCabe sent blindside flanker Gavin Coombes in for a try, with out-half David Johnston converting.

Munster made a perfect start to the second half as hooker Kevin O’Byrne got in for a try and Johnston converted, to reduce the deficit to four points.

Back came Jersey and a sniping run by scrum-half Kieran Hardy saw him outpace the Munster defence to score and Sheedy added the extras to make it 25-14.

Munster laid siege to the Jersey line and eventually Johnston got in at the corner for an unconverted try. 

A great break from his own 22 by Cian Bohane sent winger Alex W0otton racing away to score and Johnston’s conversion had Munster 26-25 ahead.

However, Sheedy restored Jersey’s lead with a penalty on 60 minutes.

Further pressure by Munster was rewarded with a Johnston penalty with ten minutes remaining to give the home side a 29-28 lead which they held to the finish.

Munster A – S Fitzgerald; D Goggin, S Arnold, C Bohane (capt), A Wootton; D Johnston, J Poland; P McCabe, K O’Byrne, B Scott; M Chisholm, D O’Shea; G Coombes, C Oliver, R Copeland. Reps: L O’Connor for P McCabe, R Burke for B Scott both 53 min, D Casey for K O’Byrne 64min, F Wycherley for M Chisholm 69 min, S O’Connor for R Copeland 73 min, g O’Shea for S Arnold 77 min.   

Jersey Reds – R Adair; G Watkins, J Davies, A Ma’afu, N Scott; C Sheedy, K Hardy; J Woolmore, J Buckle, S Kerrod; J Voss, P Phillips; J Freeman (capt), G Graham, N Haining.

Replacements: U Kolo’ofat for J Voss, S McCarthy for J Woolmore both 53 min, N Selway for J Buckle 56 min, J Armstrong for S Kerrod 62 min, M Argyle for G Graham 66 min, L Robling for R Adair 71 min, J Dudley for K Hardy 78.   

Ref – C Maxwell (RFU).

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