Planet Rugby

Munster cruise past Connacht

27th December 2013 20:32

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jj hanrahan munster

Prolific: JJ Hanrahan

Fly-half JJ Hanrahan scored all Munster's points as they cantered to a 22- 16 Pro12 victory over Connacht at Thomond Park on Friday.

Hanrahan bagged himself a converted try as well as a brace of penalties for the Limerick-based outfit as they went into the break 13-6 ahead. Dan Parks kicked two three-pointers for Pat Lam's men before the interval and added a third in the second half, but three Hanrahan penalties secured the win for the home team.

Dave Heffernan did go over late on to rescue a bonus-point, but it ended in yet another defeat for Connacht.

The visitors' victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons last week - just their second in the league this season - took them off the bottom of the Pro12 table. And the confidence garnered from that result seemed to spur them on early in this encounter.

Although Hanrahan kicked Munster in front, Parks almost immediately levelled proceedings at 3-3 via a penalty of his own in the 13th minute. Connacht's fly-half then added his second from the tee as they took the lead for the first time before the hosts found their attacking game when Hanrahan scampered over.

It was now Rob Penney's side that was firmly on top but, despite having chances to add further tries, a three-pointer from their fly-half was the final score of the half.

Munster continued to control proceedings early in the second period and, after Frank Murphy was sent to the sin bin, Hanrahan found the target once again with the boot.

James Cronin and Nathan White were then yellow carded for a scuffle and the hosts' pivot converted the resultant penalty opportunity. Parks did reduce the arrears after 62 minutes but Hanrahan's fifth three-pointer rubber-stamped the win, despite Heffernan's late try.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Try: Hanrahan
Con: Hanrahan
Pens: Hanrahan 5
Yellow Card: Cronin

For Connacht:
Try: Heffernan
Con: Parks
Pens: Parks 3
Yellow Cards: Murphy, White

The teams:

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Johne Murphy, 12 James Downey, 11 Ronan O'Mahony, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Paddy Butler, 5 Dave Foley, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 James Cronin.
Replacements: 16 Damian Varley, 17 Alan Cotter, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Gerry Hurley, 22 Johnny Holland, 23 Denis Hurley.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 John Muldoon, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Craig Clarke (c), 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Darragh Leader.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ire)

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