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McGahan hails O'Gara magic

Munster coach indebted to star kicker after win

Last updated: 12th December 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

McGahan hails O'Gara magic

McGahan: O'Gara praise

Tonight was an outstanding performance from an outstanding player. Everyone is delighted for him.

Tony McGahan
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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."

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Friday 5th December
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Montpellier vs Bath
Saturday 6th December
13:00Sale vs Saracens
17:30Munster vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Ulster vs Scarlets
13:00Benetton Treviso vs Northampton
15:15Ospreys vs Racing Metro 92
Sunday 7th December
13:00Castres vs Wasps
15:15Harlequins vs Leinster
17:30Leicester vs Toulon
15:15Toulouse vs Glasgow
Friday 12th December
19:45Bath vs Montpellier
Saturday 13th December
17:15Saracens vs Sale
19:45Leinster vs Harlequins
15:15Toulon vs Leicester
13:00Glasgow vs Toulouse
15:15Northampton vs Benetton Treviso
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Ospreys
Sunday 14th December
15:15Clermont Auvergne vs Munster
13:00Wasps vs Castres
17:15Scarlets vs Ulster
Saturday 17th January
TBCSaracens vs Munster
TBCSale vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCHarlequins vs Wasps
TBCLeinster vs Castres
TBCLeicester vs Scarlets

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