Munster 31 Connacht 24
Joey Carbery put in a man of the match performance on Saturday to defeat a stern Connacht side at the Sportsground to top Conference A in the PRO 14 standings.
It was Andy Friend’s Connacht who got the first score after 11 minutes, the first 10 minutes both sides were adjusting to the game. The try came from Tom Farrell who stood up Arno Botha in the tackle, before stripping the ball from him, he then ran 70 metres downfield and crossed the whitewash. Jack Carty kicked the resulting conversion and Connacht bulldozed into a 7-0 lead. However, in typical Munster fashion, they piled on the pressure on the hosts. They went through the phases and were soon inside the opposition 22, Joey Carbery found Earls with a nice pass, who in turn, found Peter O’Mahony who crossed the line. Carbery kicked the resulting conversion to have the sides level 7-7 after 17 minutes.
Munster got another five-pointer on 25 minutes. John Ryan was denied a score minutes before as the TMO had deemed the ball had not touched the line to award a try. However, they got their just rewards for the pressure they were putting on the Connacht defence, Dan Goggin broke onto a ball from the scrum to put the Red Army ahead. Carbery again converted to make it 14-7. Jack Carty did manage to cut the gap to 4 points at the break with a penalty. Munster 14 Connacht 10 at the break.
The second half got underway superbly for the Westerners. Inside the opening minute, they got a try and led the game. The ball was swept wide from the restart to Tom Farrell, he found Cian Kelleher on the outside and he breezed through to score a fantastic try. Once again Jack Carty converted to give Connacht a 17-14 lead. Munster led by an impressive performance from O’Mahony in the pack didn’t give in, they fought back yet again. The ball went through the hands of several players before the Alex Wootton provided an assist for Goggins second try before Carbery split the posts with the conversion, Munster, back in front now on 49 minutes. The game many of would have thought to be over when Carbery himself registered another penalty to stretch the gap further, before he went and got a well-deserved try of his own dropping the shoulder to Matt Healy and giving a dummy to take his try and then adding the conversion. Connacht again though were resilient and never wilted, indeed a Jack Carty try sent the large attendance in Galway wild 6 minutes to go. It was a well-timed run which paved the way for him to saunter through for a try under the posts following good play from Angus Lloyd and Colby Fainga’a. A one score game no coming down the home straight.
They needed another chance but to be fair Munster controlled the last 3 or 4 minutes opting to keep possession in the Connacht 22, with some scrums also. Connacht did, however, pick up a losing bonus point meaning they moved up to third in the table ahead of the Ospreys.