Friday 24 January 2020

Rolling back the years... Priceless penalties steer Munster to Euro victories

O'Gara and Burke keep reds in the fight for honours, writes Daragh Small

Ronan O'Gara tackles Northampton Saints' Ben Foden in their 2010 clash. Photo: Sportsfile
Ronan O'Gara tackles Northampton Saints' Ben Foden in their 2010 clash. Photo: Sportsfile

JANUARY 10, 2015. Zebre 7, Munster 31, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi: Simon Zebo scored the bonus-point try in a comprehensive victory for Munster against Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

Munster were already well out of sight when they took a 24-0 lead into half-time and Zebo touched down their fourth try shortly after the resumption.

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Felix Jones, CJ Stander and Conor Murray set the tone early and despite a consolatory effort from Oliviero Fabiani, Zebre came out on the wrong side of a thumping defeat.

Jones and Stander tries had Munster 14-0 ahead by the 28th minute, while Murray touched down before the break to put them out of sight.

Zebo added the fourth try in the 42nd minute and that allowed Munster to ease up.

January 22, 2010

Munster 12, Northampton Saints 9

Thomond Park

O'Gara scored four penalties to ensure Munster's safe passage into the quarter-finals of the European Cup for a record 12th consecutive season.

O'Gara slotted a couple of penalties in the first half to give Munster a 6-3 half-time lead. He scored first in the third minute and there were no more scores until shortly after the half-hour mark when Bruce Reihana kicked a penalty.

But O'Gara reasserted Munster's dominance by doubling his and Munster's first-half tally and they took the narrow lead into the interval.

Northampton never fell away, however, and as Munster captain Paul O'Connell was shown a yellow card, his team had to hold on.

January 8, 2005

Munster 20, Ospreys 10

Thomond Park

Paul Burke scored 10 points as Munster eased to a crucial win over Ospreys and took control of Pool 2 in the European Cup.

Anthony Foley and Christian Cullen scored the tries in yet another success in their Limerick venue. Munster remained unbeaten in Europe at Thomond Park.

Shane Williams was the only try-scorer for Ospreys and despite five points from the boot of Gavin Henson, they came up short like so many teams had before them.

Munster were without Ronan O'Gara but Burke struck their first penalty in the fifth minute. Ospreys capitalised on a Cullen error for Williams to race through and score shortly after.

But Munster wrestled control at the end of the half with Foley scoring their first try with a powerful effort.

The two kickers traded penalties after half-time but Munster always had enough in the locker.

January 13, 2001

Newport 24, Munster 39

Rodney Parade

Ronan O'Gara was man of the match as Munster secured a brilliant win away to Newport in the European Cup.

Munster looked down and out when they trailed 21-10 at half-time but they fought back valiantly at Rodney Parade for another historic victory on the road.

Mike Mullins and Anthony Horgan scored the decisive tries after half-time with the Welsh unable to deal with the waves of red coming in their direction for the second 40 minutes.

Former Connacht winger Matt Mostyn scored Newport's opening try in the 12th minute and Shane Howarth landed the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Howarth then added a penalty and Matt Pini scored what looked like a killer second try shortly after.

But Munster were back in it when O'Gara touched down; he scored the conversion and a penalty to reduce the arrears.

However, Howarth scored two penalties to give his side a big lead at the break before Munster fought back to win.

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