Ulster deny Munster

07th May 2008, 09:18

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Point Made: Andrew Trimble scored one of Ulster's three tries

Point Made: Andrew Trimble scored one of Ulster's three tries

Ulster brought Munster back to earth with a bump by inflicting a 19-9 Magners League defeat on the Heineken Cup finalists at Ravenhill on Wednesday.

Ulster brought Munster back to earth with a bump by inflicting a 19-9 Magners League defeat on the Heineken Cup finalists at Ravenhill on Wednesday.

Munster's chances of challenging Leinster for the league title are now over, and the result crucially keeps the Ulstermen eight points ahead of Connacht with two home games remaining, as they bid to guarantee Heineken Cup rugby next season.

First-half tries from Rob Dewey and Ryan Caldwell gave Ulster a half-time lead that they did not surrender against a second string Munster outfit who failed to be inspired even by the presence of Peter Stringer and skipper Anthony Foley's 200th appearance for his province.

Ireland international Andrew Trimble grabbed the decisive score just after the hour mark and, from there, the Heineken Cup finalists had no way back into the game.

Scotland international centre Dewey got Ulster under way when he broke through two tackles to make the line, with Wallace adding the extras to give Ulster a 7-0 lead after 10 minutes.

However, the visitors immediately struck back after Matt McCullough was penalised for taking out Niall Ronan from the restart - and Paul Warwick landed the penalty.

The Munster outside-half missed a chance to further narrow the scores on the half hour when he was wide with a long-range penalty attempt.

But it was Ulster who finished the half strongly, despite the fact that their line-out was struggling to function, when lively second row Ryan Caldwell burst through to score deep in injury-time before Wallace landed his second conversion to make it 14-3 at the break.

Ulster crucially survived when Caldwell was binned four minutes after the restart, the turning point of the game duly arriving when Warwick ignored a kickable penalty to go for the corner.

The Munster pack were then camped on Ulster's line for several minutes but despite Mick O'Driscoll and Tony Buckley being held up inches short, Ulster turned the ball over and managed to survive being reduced to 14 men, Justin Harrison replacing Caldwell after the 10 minutes had elapsed.

Just past the hour mark, Trimble cut through from first phase possession after Wallace put him in space. Although the Ulster outside-half was wide with the conversion, Ulster were looking comfortable with a 19-3 lead.

Two late Paul Warwick penalties narrowed the home side's winning margin - but Ireland coach-in-waiting Declan Kidney had nothing to show for his side's efforts.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Dewey, Caldwell, Trimble
Cons: Wallace 2

For Munster:
Pens: Warwick 3

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Trimble, 12 Rob Dewey, 11 Mark Bartholomeusz 10 Paddy Wallace, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Stephen Ferris, 7 Kieran Dawson, 6 Matt McCullough, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Carlo Del Fava, 3 Tom Court, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Bryan Young.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Justin Fitzpatrick, 18 Justin Harrison, 19 Neil Best, 20 Paul Marshall, 21 Niall O'Connor, 22 Mark McCrea.

Munster: 15 Shaun Payne, 14 Brian Carney, 13 Barry Murphy, 12 Kieran Lewis, 11 Anthony Horgan, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Anthony Foley (c), 7 Niall Ronan, 6 John O'Sullivan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Donncha Ryan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Frankie Sheahan, 1 Federico Pucciariello.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Daragh Hurley, 18 Mark Melbourne, 19 James Coughlan, 20 Gerry Hurley, 21 Jeremy Manning, 22 Keith Earls.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
Touch judges: Alan Rogan (Ireland), Johan Carvill (Ireland)
Assessor: Brian Stirling (Ireland)