Munster v Connacht

Munster host Connacht at Thomond Park in the last of the festive interprovincial derbies

Eamon Donoghue Sat, Jan 6
LIVE: Munster v Connacht

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  • Hello and Welcome . . . Munster take on Connacht in the last of the festive period's three rounds of Pro14 interprovincial derbies. Thomond Park is the venue, with the hosts hot favourites as Connacht rest a number of their Irish internationals.  

    Be sure to get in touch throughout, via either the comments section ('Contact Us' tab) or on Twitter (@DonoghueEamon).

    Let's get started!

  • Munster v Connacht, Saturday January 6th, Thomond Park, 7.45pm ko
  • Gavin Cummiskey's Lowdown:

    MUNSTER: S Zebo; A Conway, C Farrell, R Scannell, K Earls; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, R  Marshall, J Ryan; J Kleyn, D O’Shea; J O’Donoghue, C Oliver, CJ Stander (capt). Replacements: M Sherry, J Cronin, S Archer, R Copeland, P O’Mahony, D Williams, B Johnston, D Sweetnam.

    CONNACHT: T O’Halloran; N Adeolokun, E Griffin, P Ahki, M Healy; J Carty, C Blade; P McCabe, T McCartney, C Carey; Q Roux, J Cannon; C Gallagher, JButler, J Muldoon (capt). Replacements: S Delahunt, C O’Donnell, F Bealham, G Thornbury, P Boyle, J Mitchell, C Ronaldson, D Leader.

    Referee: D Wilkinson (IRFU)

    Betting: Munster (handicap -15) 10/11. Connacht (+15) 10/11.

    Verdict: Munster win.

  • Team news:

    Munster have welcomed Chris Farrell, Rhys Marshall and Conor Oliver back from injury they look to bounce back from their 24-17 defeat to Ulster on New Year’s Day.

    Meanwhile Bundee Aki, Kieran Marmion and Ultan Dillane have all been left out of the Connacht squad.

  • New Years day recap . . .

    Last time out Connacht's brave efforts against Leinster still only left them with a bonus point to take from the RDS in a 21-18 defeat. Read that match report here.

    Munster meanwhile paid the price for Sam Arnold's red card as they surrendered a 17-0 lead against Ulster to lose 24-17. Read that match report here.

  • Less than five minutes to kick-off at Thomond Park, teams are on their way out where a swirling wind a lively crowd awaits them
  • Munster 0 Connacht 0 (1')  Jack Carty gets us underway at Thomond Park. GAME ON
  • Munster 0 Connacht 3 (2') Early break by Niyi Adeolokun, Munster in from the side and Connacht are awarded a penalty . . .

    Which from the right of the posts Carty nails.

  • Munster 0 Connacht 3 (3') Andrew Conway knocks on Ian Keatley's restart to give Connacht a scrum outside their 22.

  • Connacht dominate the first scrum of the game, win themselves another penalty and Carty kicks them into the Munster half. Great start by the visitors!
  • Connacht fail to break the Munster defensive line and Matt Healy's kick to the corner is overhit giving Munster the putt in on halfway
  • Munster 0 Connacht 3 (8') Swift Munster attack off the back of their scrum, great work by CJ Stander, Jack O'Donoghue and then Andrew Conway but Caolin Blade does brilliantly and Munster are pinged for holding on. Connacht clear their lines

  • Munster 0 Connacht 3 (11') Connacht break away with Tiernan O'Halloran kicking and chasing. Munster clear but the visitors come again off the lineout - but their attack is held up by Jack O'Conoghue and an excellent maul defence

  • Munster with a powerful scrum on their own 10m line, Rory Scannell then kicks them into the Connacht half. That was a real signal of intent their from the Munster pack!
  • Munster 0 Connacht 3 (17') Clean lineout and Keatley finds Zebo with a skip pass, the fullback kicks and chases forcing Matt Healy to put Adeolokun under pressure and he steps into touch

  • Munster are gathering momentum inside the Connacht 22
  • TRY Time! Chris Farrell with the initial break. Murray and Keatley are in to clean out and Conor Oliver plays scrumhalf and pops it to Darren O'Shea who crosses over for the first try of the game.
  • Munster 7 Connacht 3 (21') Keatley converts and Munster deserved that, they've really taken over here after a lively opening from Connacht

  • Chris Farrell has just driven Jack Carty back with a big big hit, but the Connacht outhalf did well on the ground and with Munster in over the top, Connacht have a penalty and a chance to reduce the deficit . . .
  • Munster 7 Connacht 6 (25') Excellent kick, into the wind and lets it carry between the posts. Jarrad Butler then gathers Keatley's restart but Connacht are pulled for crossing and Keatley kicks Munster into the corner

  • Munster knock on and Connacht have a scrum on their own 22
  • Munster 7 Connacht 6 (29')  Strong Connacht scrum wins a penalty and Carty kicks to halfway

  • Connacht lineout is overthrown and Rhys Marshall picks it up at the tail. CJ Stander drives at the Connacht defensive line. Connacht concede a penalty which forces the referee to talk to both captains about the high penalty count on both ends so far.  

    Keatley will go for the posts . . .

  • Munster 10 Connacht 6 (31')  In front of the posts Keatley drills it over. Connacht are swift with the restart and regain possession just outside of the Munster 22

  • James Cannon knocks on with men outside. Munster with a chance now to get back into the Connacht half
  • Munster 10 Connacht 6 (33')  Clean scrum is worked out to Rory Scannell - his long pass opens things up for Conway, but his offload inside is cut off by Eoin Griffin. Connacht scrum on their 10m line beside the touchline to come

  • Connacht win the penalty from a keenly contested scrum. Carty kicks them to the Munster 10m line
  • Quinn Roux pulled up. Munster scrum, Murray kicks from the base and Connacht are in control just inside their own half
  • Munster 10 Connacht 6 (40')  Scrappy period of play ends in a Munster penalty for a high tackle. Keatley kicks just inside the Connacht 22

  • Munster win their lineout but Quinn Roux turns over brilliantly with a rip tackle and Carty clears.  
  • HT Munster 10 Connacht 6 - A scrappy first half but Munster deserving of their lead. Darren O'Shea with the only try of the game but the hosts have been close on a few occassions

  • Munster 10 Connacht 6 (41') Ian Keatley gets the second half underway. Connacht gather the restart and Butler makes a brilliant break - yet with no support he's forced to hold on and concedes a penalty

  • Excellent from Quinn Roux again to win the Munster lineout. Connacht have possession just inside their own half
  • Munster 10 Connacht 6 (45') Connacht edge their way into the Munster half - after play is delayed for a knock to Adeolokun - but Muldoon knocks on. Munster win a penalty from the scrum and Keatley finds touch on halfway with a sliced kick

  • Lovely kick into a pocket of space behind the Connacht back three, and out for touch in the corner, by Keatley. Connacht win their lineout but Carty's up and under is short and gathered by Murray. Munster have possession just outside the Connacht 22 - looking menacing
  • Munster 13 Connacht 6 (50') Keatley nails his kick under the posts after Munster win a penalty at the breakdown. Earls wins the restart and makes a brilliant break - his grubber kick is gathered by Healy and he counters but is pinged for holding on. Giving Munster a penalty just inside the Connacht half. They're really taking over here

  • TMO needed after Conway appeared to beat O'Halloran to Keatley's grubber kick
  • Munster 20 Connacht 6 (53') Replays show that Conway touched down so the TMO gives the referee the nod to award the try. Keatley converts and Munster lead by 14.

  • Quinn Roux fumbles after Connacht gather the restart. Knock on and scrum to Munster on halfway
  • What a try. Keatley's offload to Conway was top class. He was on to it at full pace and timed his pass to Keith Earls outside him perfectly and the Irish winger touches down. Munster running away with this now
  • Munster 25 Connacht 6 (60') No joy this time from the conversion for Keatley, but it was his offload which set that entire try in motion

  • Quinn Roux could be in trouble here, a dump tackle on Keith Earls - who had just made two sublime breaks - starts a bit of handbags.  
  • TMO says yellow card and penalty as Earls lands on his shoulder and not his head. Keatley kicks into the corner
  • Munster 30 Connacht 6 (63') Lineout maul brings the Munster pack touching distance from the line, and then Conor Murray sneaks over. Try number four for Munster

  • Munster 32 Connacht 6 (64') And this time Keatley converts

  • Matt Healy tackles high giving Rory Scannell the chance to kick Munster into the corner and mount even more pressure on Connacht.  
  • Munster 32 Connacht 6 (68')  Lineout maul is held up just short, but Stander comes with a second wave and crosses over. It goes to the TMO and he brings it back for a penalty for offside as the replays do not show the ball being grounded

  • Munster 39 Connacht 6 (70')  Munster come again, piercing at the Connacht line, and again it's Conor Murray who finds the gap with a quick pick and go. His second try and Munster's fifth. Keatley converts

  • Quinn Roux is back, restoring Connacht to 15 players
  • Munster 39 Connacht 6 (74')  Butler makes a break down the left touchline he looks for support before chipping and chasing, but Duncan Williams does brilliantly for Munster to gather and clear. Munster then win the Connacht lineout and relieve the pressure.

  • At last Connacht come to the table in this second half. Lovely rugby. O'Halloran's grubber kick is gathered and two lovely offloads - the first from Darragh Leader and the second from Cillian Gallagher (one handed on his knees) - allowed Tom McCartney to cross over!
  • Munster 39 Connacht 13 (80') Craig Ronaldson converts

  • FT Munster 39 Connacht 13 - Munster come away with the bonus point win after a totally dominant second half

  • Conor Oliver - man of the match: "We were very disappointed after the last two games and we had to put that to the back of our minds. . . . This win is great for the camp now with two big European games coming up and it's great to have lads coming back from injuries and putting pressure on."
  • So that's that . . . Connacht stood up in the first half but were physically blown away by Munster in the second half. Without their Irish internationals they really struggled to create any opportunities and the pressure on their own backline eventually told. Nevertheless they battled all the way to the final whistle.  

    In a scrappy encounter there were still some excellent tries, and some fine performances on show from the likes of Conor Oliver and Keatley.

    Match report from Thomond Park to come, as well as some reaction from Leinster's win at the RDS earlier. Until then, thanks for joinig us.

    Munster 39 Connacht 13