Planet Rugby

Leinster make history in Cork

30th November 2007 22:18

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Shane Horgan Felipe Contepomi Brian O Driscoll

Big Three: The Dubliners departed Cork with a famous victory

Leinster battled to their first win at Musgrave Park in 22 years as a second-half try from Shane Horgan saw the Dubliners past Munster on the back of a famous 10-3 win on Friday night.

Leinster ended their winless run at the Cork venue, which included three league defeats, to take over at the top of the Magners League table after a fiercely contested derby.

The sides were locked at 3-3 for over 50 minutes until Luke Fitzgerald made a telling break and laid off for Horgan to make the line despite the best efforts of Ian Dowling.

It was a forgettable night for Munster and in particular their stand-in captain Ronan O'Gara who missed three penalty kicks out of four attempts.

The game had been billed as the renewal of World Cup rivalries between O'Gara and Leinster's Felipe Contepomi, who inspired Argentina to beat Ireland in Paris in September.

Munster struggled from the start as they spilt the kick-off and infringed at the first scrum, allowing Contepomi to kick the visitors in front from just outside the 22.

The errors continued to mount with Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll and Cillian Willis both kicking out on the full.

O'Gara sent his opening kick of the night wide but in the 13th minute the Cork-born playmaker levelled with a great strike from 49 metres.

Both sides kicked regularly to press the opposition into mistakes, but players like Shaun Payne and Rob Kearney showed their coolness under high balls.

Leinster's pack built up a head of steam midway through the half and they should have crossed the whitewash. Only some disciplined defence and excellent counter-rucking from Munster kept the out.

Lifeimi Mafi and O'Gara led a Munster surge into the Leinster 22 but it came to nothing and Leinster got close to the home line again before the break.

Malcolm O'Kelly claimed a line-out and his team-mates mounted a big drive, Gordon D'Arcy weaved his way past four men but possession was frustratingly turned over.

Leinster also lost captain Brian O'Driscoll to a leg injury after half an hour, meaning Jonathan Sexton came in at number 10 and Contepomi moved to centre.

Munster looked poised to take advantage when they started the second half with some of the verve which saw them hammer the Dragons at the same venue last week.

Yet they failed to turn their pressure into points with O'Gara missing two place kicks after 45 and 64 minutes, while Contepomi also missed the target in the tricky conditions.

The game's turning point came soon after O'Gara's third miss.

Young winger Fitzgerald caught the Munster defence napping with a fantastic burst forward, he stood up in the tackle and passed for centre Horgan to charge forward and use his momentum to crash over.

Contepomi brilliantly swung over the conversion for a 10-3 lead and Leinster's stubborn defence allowed them to hold on for their third impressive away victory of the league campaign.

The scorers:

For Munster:

Pens: O'Gara

For Leinster:

Tries: Horgan

Cons: Contepomi

Pens: Contepomi

Munster: 15 Shaun Payne, 14 Kieran Lewis, 13 Rua Tipoki, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Ronan O'Gara (c), 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Donncha Ryan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Jerry Flannery, 1 Marcus Horan.

Replacements: 16 Frank Sheahan, 17 Tony Buckley, 18 Anthony Foley, 19 Niall Ronan, 20 Gerry Hurley, 21 Paul Warwick, 22 Barry Murphy.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Stephen Keogh, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Stan Wright, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Ollie le Roux

Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Cameron Jowitt, 19 Keith Gleeson, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Christian Warner

Date: Friday, November 30

Venue: Musgrave Park

Kick-off: 19:30 GMT

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Colin Stanley (Ireland), Mark Hermin (Ireland)

Television Match official: Brian Fitzgerald (Ireland)

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