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Munster cruise past Dragons

28th September 2013 20:44

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Peter O Mahony Munster 2012

Scored: Peter O'Mahony

Munster returned to the victory trail with a deserved 23-9 triumph over the Dragons Musgrave Park on Saturday.

The Irish province bounced back from last week's disappointing defeat to Treviso with a routine win over a weakened Dragons side.

The home side dominated proceedings as tries from James Cronin and captain Peter O'Mahony secured the win for the three-time champions.

The win lifted Munster up to third in the Pro12 standings while the Dragons stay in mid-table with two wins and two defeats from their opening four matches.

JJ Hanrahan put Munster ahead with an early penalty before Dragons' fly-half Kris Burton levelled the scores 10 minutes in. The Dragons, missing a host of players from last week's win over the Scarlets, matched the Irish side in the scrum early on before Rob Penney's side started building momentum.

Munster put several phases together deep into Dragons' territory before Hanrahan kicked his second penalty of the match to restore the home side's lead. But once again Burton hit-back from the boot to get the Dragons back on level terms with a quarter of the game played.

The visitors were struggling at the line-out and Munster took full advantage as prop Cronin bashed his way over for the game's first try, with Hanrahan adding the conversion as the home side went into the break with a seven point lead.

Munster piled on the pressure in the second half but it was the Dragons who added to the scoreboard as Burton landed a penalty after Damien Varley was penalised for not rolling away.

But Darren Edwards' side were dealt a double blow as captain Andrew Coombs was sin-binned for a cynical stamp on Cronin while Jevon Groves was yellow carded for collapsing a maul only a minute later.

Munster capitalised on their two man advantage as O'Mahony leaped over the try-line in the 50th minute, with Hanrahan converting. The fly-half then kicked his third penalty of the evening as the game ticked into the final quarter, with Munster 14 points in front. Ireland stalwart Paul O'Connell came close to scoring his side's third try after coming off the bench but the visitors defended resolutely.

Dragons were camped on Munster's five metre line for the final minutes of the game as they searched for a losing bonus point but the home side held firm to claim a third victory of the season.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Cronin, O'Mahony
Cons:Hanrahan 2
Pens: Hanrahan 3

For Dragons:
Pens: Burton 3

Munster: 15 Johne Murphy, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Ivan Dineen, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Cathal Sheridan, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Peter O'Mahony (capt), 5 Dave Foley, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Damien Varley, 1 James Cronin.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Paul O'Connell, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Felix Jones.

Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Ross Wardle, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Kris Burton, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Jevon Groves, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Andrew Coombs (c), 3 Francisco Chaparro, 2 Hugh Gustafson, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Dan Way, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Ieuan Jones, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Adam Hughes.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

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