Planet Rugby

Munster see off weak Connacht

27th December 2007 21:28

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Munster maintained their third place in the Magners League with a confortable, if unspectacular, 17-0 win over Connacht on Thursday.

A try from Ireland back row Denis Leamy clinched the spoils for Munster in atrocious conditions at Musgrave Park.

Leamy flew in, 12 minutes from the finish, to kill off the brave challenge from the Connacht men who still have not beaten Munster since 1986.

Marking his 154th and final appearance in Munster red, John Kelly captained the province on a night when he was not called into action too many times as the forwards on both sides bore the brunt of the work.

Munster dominated the scrums from early on with the giant Tony Buckley again impressing. It was fitting that the game's only try should come from a forward. Federico Pucciariello and Buckley combined to create the chance for Leamy.

Former Connacht fly-half Paul Warwick took the man-of-the-match award for his accurate kicks throughout and with Peter Stringer getting plenty of protection from his forwards, Warwick started punishing the visitors.

Connacht were disappointed not to take something from the game as their three-quarters moved the ball well in the wet and windy conditions but invariably the final pass went astray.

Warwick landed four penalties for the home side in an uneventful first half during which Connacht lost both Ofisa Treviravus and John Muldoon to injury and increasing their woes, they lost lock David Gannon to a 35th-minute yellow card.

Warwick's four penalties handed Munster a 12-0 interval advantage but it did not seem enough considering the hosts had the benefit of the gale.

But with the forwards keeping it tight in the second half, Munster wrapped it up with Leamy's try.

The best move of the opening period was engineered by Connacht late on when Danny Riordan began an attack that was eventually sealed off by some strong Munster defending.

Connacht, though, had halted the Munster pack on three occasions as they drove for the whitewash during that forgettable first half.

The scorers:

For Munster:

Try: Leamy

Pens: Warwick 4

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley 14 John Kelly, 13 Kieran Lewis, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Anthony Foley, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Denis Leamy, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Frank Sheahan, 1 Federico Pucciariello.

Replacements: 16 Jerry Flannery, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 Mick O'Driscoll, 19 James Coughlan, 20 Gerry Hurley, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Barry Murphy.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Darren Yapp, 13 Danny Riordan, 12 Aidan Wynne, 11 Ofisa Treviranus, 10 Andy Dunne, 9 Conor OčLoughlin, 8 John Muldoon (c, 7 Johnny OčConnor, 6 Michael McCarthy, 5 David Gannon, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Adrain Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.

Replacements: 16 John Fogarty 17 Brian McGovern 18 Andrew Browne 19 Andrew Farley 20 Colm Rigney 21 Conor McPhillips 22 Peter Durcan.

Referee: Colin Stanley

Touch judges: David Keane, Dudley Phillips

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