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- Heineken Cup
- Pool 1
- 11th Dec 2009
- KO 20:00
- Ground: Thomond Park, Limerick
- Att: 26,000
McGahan hails O'Gara magic
Munster coach indebted to star kicker after win
Tonight was an outstanding performance from an outstanding player. Everyone is delighted for him.
Quotes of the week
Munster coach Tony McGahan heaped praise on Ronan O'Gara's "outstanding" contribution during his side's dramatic 24-23 Heineken Cup victory over Pool 1 opponents Perpignan at Thomond Park.
McGahan labelled the Ireland international's display as "an outstanding performance from an outstanding player" as Munster stayed on track to qualify for the quarter-finals for the 12 successive year.
Man-of-the-match O'Gara, whose goal-kicking has come in to question in recent weeks, scored all of Munster's points with seven penalties and a drop goal during the narrow win.
Perpignan will get an shot at revenge on Sunday week, though, when the French champions host Munster at the Stade Aime Giral.
McGahan said: "I thought Ronan O'Gara was outstanding tonight. He has been outstanding even since he came back into the camp after the autumn internationals.
"He is a tremendously strong-willed person. He did not lose his belief and we certainly did not lose our belief in him.
"Tonight was an outstanding performance from an outstanding player. Everyone is delighted for him."
The Australian also paid tribute to his side's "experience and fortitude" as they recovered from conceding two tries to Yoann Vivalda and Nicolas Durand inside the opening 13 minutes, and also from Philip Burger's stunning 70th-minute solo effort.
He added: "I thought our experience and fortitude brought us through. Perpignan went ahead with seven or eight minutes to go and we came back again.
"We put ourselves on the line to make sure we got that match-winning penalty at the end.
"We just came to get the four points, so that was a big result for us. We would liked to have kept them to zero, but four points was what the job entailed."
McGahan claimed the decision to disallow Denis Hurley's 76th-minute try for a knock on in the lead-up to the score was a tight decision.
"For Denis Hurley's effort it looked very close. It certainly was a tough, tough decision," he added.
"It could have gone either way, but the way things are going for us we are not getting any of those. It was a 50-50 decision, We have to live with that."
Munster number eight Denis Leamy, who put in an all-action display, was also quick to praise the contribution of compatriot O'Gara.
"Rog answered all the questions tonight. He was awesome. He isn't going anywhere for a while," Leamy said.
Looking ahead to the return match, he added: "Next week in Perpignan will be massive. I made my debut down there and my memory of it is that it is a real bear-pit.
"It will be a very, very tough battle in the south of France. It always is. It is one to look forward to and a great challenge.
"We have to go to Perpignan next week and really pull out all the stops."