Friday 24 November 2017

Scanlon on the mark as Reds prevail

Munster 11 London Irish 10

John Fallon

It was far from pretty but Munster coach Tony McGahan was pleased his side's final workout before they begin the defence of their Celtic League title next week.

A game which produced three yellow cards for Munster and a red for the visitors might suggest a war of attrition at Thomond Park last night, but while it was never a dirty game it was always competitive and both sides benefited.

And having lost their other two pre-season games against La Rochelle and Wasps, McGahan felt the win was important. "Our defence and set-piece was strong and it was good to win and while we still have work to do, we will go into the competitive season with confidence," he said.

McGahan said that John Hayes and Tomas O'Leary would be added to the squad next week as they prepare to start the defence of their title at home to Newport Gwent Dragons.

Full-back Sean Scanlon grabbed Munster's only try when he pounced on a mistake by London Irish full-back Tom Homer after 58 minutes.

Ian Keatley landed two penalties on his home debut for Munster, kicking his second three minutes from the end after Adrian Jarvis had finally got London Irish off the mark.

Keatley's kick proved decisive as London Irish came with a strong finish in a bizarre final quarter which saw three Munster players receive yellow cards and the visitors' lock James Sandford get a red card.

That followed an incident after 71 minutes which saw Peter Borlase receive yellow but Sandford was penalised for use of the head on the instructions of a touch judge.

Munster saw two more players receive yellow for killing the ball, with Niall Ronan and Damien Varley being penalised. That paved the way for London Irish to rally in the closing stages, with Richard Thorpe getting in for a late converted try, though that was not enough to save the game.

Munster -- S Scanlon (S Deasy 65); D Howlett, D Barnes (S Zebo 55), L Mafi, D Hurley; I Keatley, D Williams (P Stringer 40); M Horan (W du Preez 55), M Sherry (D Varley 40), S Archer (P Borlase 65); I Nagle (D O'Callaghan 55), M O'Driscoll; B Holland, N Ronan, P O'Mahony (T O'Donnell 60).

London Irish -- T Homer (S Shingler 68); T Ojo, J Joseph, D Bowden, M Yarde; A Jarvis, P Hodgson (R Samson 68); M Lahiff (M George 68), D Paice (B Blaney 71), F Rautenbach (L Halavatau 51); K Roche, M Garvey (T Alexander 75); R Thorpe, J Gibson (P Synott 39 (J Sandford 51)), A Gray.

REF --A Rolland (IRFU).

Irish Independent

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