Sunday 17 November 2019

When O'Gara got the better of Henson and Sarries glory

Munster players, from left, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Jeremy Staunton and Mike Mullins celebrate a dramatic win over over Saracens at Vicarage Road in 1999. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster players, from left, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Jeremy Staunton and Mike Mullins celebrate a dramatic win over over Saracens at Vicarage Road in 1999. Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Away day victories mark this week in Munster’s history, writes Daragh Small

November 1, 2014

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Peter Stringer celebrates scoring a crucial try against the Ospreys in 2004. Photo: Sportsfile
Peter Stringer celebrates scoring a crucial try against the Ospreys in 2004. Photo: Sportsfile

Cardiff Blues 24, Munster 28

Cardiff Arms Park

Paddy Butler scored the late try as Munster left Cardiff Arms Park with a hard-fought victory over Cardiff Blues.

Munster looked in trouble when Manos Vosawai touched down but Butler scored and then Johnny Holland applied the crucial conversion in a brilliant game.

Munster were 18-14 ahead at half-time thanks to the flawless kicking of out-half JJ Hanrahan. He landed six successful penalties from six attempts at goal in tricky conditions before the break.

The hosts were 21-18 in front shortly after the hour mark, but Hanrahan tied it up again only for Gareth Davies to answer that kick with another penalty, and Butler's 77th minute effort was the difference in the end.

October 31, 2009

Munster 24, Ulster 10

Thomond Park

Paul Warwick scored the bonus-point try at the death as Munster bounced back with a stunning win over inter-provincial rivals Ulster in the Magners League at Thomond Park.

Munster had a slow start to 2009-10, emphasised by their loss at Edinburgh the previous week, but Jean de Villiers, David Wallace and Keith Earls also touched down in a battling display.

Munster were 14-10 in front at half-time and dominated the second half. But they laid the foundations before the break.

Springbok centre de Villiers was first to strike in the 13th minute, and Ronan O'Gara gave Munster a 7-0 lead from the kicking tee.

But this wasn't to be straight forward either, and Ulster were back in front by the 21st minute. But David Wallace's 33rd minute try settled the hosts. And then in the second half, Earls and Warwick both got across to score.

October 31, 2004

Ospreys 18, Munster 20

The Gnoll

Peter Stringer's try was the difference as Munster continued their brilliant run in the Heineken Cup with a narrow win away to Ospreys in the Gnoll.

It could have been so different had Gavin Henson kicked a late drop goal, but Munster held on for a vital win in their quest for that coveted European silverware.

In a real battle of the forwards Munster unsurprisingly held the upperhand and in the 44th minute Irish scrum-half Stringer was given an opening to score, and he dotted down the winning try.

O'Gara finished with five penalties to his name while Henson added six up the other end. But O'Gara came out on the winning side as the Welsh out-half failed to hold his nerve in the closing stages.

November 28, 1999

Saracens 34, Munster 35

Vicarage Road

Jeremy Staunton's try turned the game in Munster's favour as they stunned their hosts Saracens to leave Vicarage Road with a whopping 35-34 victory over the English Premiership giants.

Springbok icon Francois Pienaar led the Saracens powerhouse and they were expected to win here, even despite Munster's opening victory over Welsh outfit Pontypridd.

It all looked to be going to plan for the home side when they took a big 21-9 lead into half-time at the Watford Football Club grounds.

But Munster fought back and they soon found their love for the Heineken Cup, and that odyssey for European greatness took hold.

Staunton, Killian Keane, Mike Mullins and Anthony Foley all touched down with Ronan O'Gara adding three penalties and three conversions while Munster fought back from falling behind twice to take the win.

It was a massive Sunday in the history of Munster Rugby and would pave the way for successes on the road for years to come.

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