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Munster

  • O'Connell, Varley (2),
    Penalty goals: O'Gara,
    Conversions: O'Gara (2),
22 - 0

Connacht

RaboDirect PRO12: Munster shut out local rivals at Musgrave Park

Last updated: 23rd March 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Rob Penney 2009

Rob Penney's men couldn't add a bonus point

Paul O Connell Munster

Paul O'Connell: successful return for Munster

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Paul O'Connell lasted the full 80 minutes as he made a try-scoring return in Munster's 22-0 RaboDirect PRO12 derby win over Connacht.

Having lined out for Munster 'A' and club side Young Munster in recent weeks, O'Connell stepped up to senior level for the first time since having surgery to correct a bulging disc in his back.

The big lock, eager to be part of Warren Gatland's Lions plans, enjoyed an energetic first appearance for Munster since October and both he and Damien Varley touched down inside the opening 14 minutes at Musgrave Park, with a late Ronan O'Gara penalty making it 15-0 at the break.

But although Varley doubled his try tally in the second half, Rob Penney's men failed to push on and the bonus point score eluded them.

Connacht's determined defence held the hosts in check early on, maintaining their composure despite strong carries from O'Connell and Tommy O'Donnell but they could do nothing to stop young scrum half Cathal Sheridan from supplying a lovely one-handed pass to O'Connell who powered over from the opening try from close range.

O'Gara converted and he was then floored by a late challenge from Michael Kearney in the next phase, which earned the Connacht lock a yellow card.

From the ensuing lineout, an O'Connell-inspired maul led to hooker Varley plunging over the whitewash for an unconverted effort.

The fast pace continued with Danie Poolman and Kieran Marmion threatening for the visitors, and Munster full-back Felix Jones also getting a chance to stretch his legs.

O'Gara looked particularly sharp, evidently keen to show his worth after losing his place in the Ireland squad and he dovetailed well with newcomer Sheridan.

Error strewn

The second quarter was error-strewn, but the penalty count was keeping Connacht pinned back and O'Gara rifled over a right-sided penalty in injury time.

Munster added their third try in the 50th minute. Man of the match O'Connell set up a close-in ruck and Varley ghosted in for an opportunist score with the defending Denis Buckley and Mike McCarthy both caught out.

O'Gara's successful conversion put 22 points between the sides.

Connacht gleaned more territory in their attempts to respond, with replacement scrum half Paul O'Donohoe bundled into touch as he tried to reach over in the left corner.

Dan Parks was unable to exert much influence and disappointingly, a fine midfield run from Gavin Duffy came to nothing as the supporting McCarthy lacked support.

Connacht had won their previous three league games but never threatened Munster's lead, and this inter-provincial clash petered out with Munster - so desperate for the bonus point to boost their challenge for an unlikely play-off spot - getting no reward for a late series of frantic attacks.

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - November 23 2014
Pos Team P Pts
11 Zebre 8 5
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Friday 28th November
Guinness PRO12
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Treviso
19:35Munster vs Ulster
Saturday 29th November
15:00Zebre vs Edinburgh
17:15Leinster vs Ospreys
19:30Connacht vs Scarlets
Sunday 30th November
16:00Glasgow vs Newport Gwent D'gons
Friday 19th December
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets
19:35Leinster vs Connacht
19:35Edinburgh vs Benetton Treviso
Saturday 20th December
14:40Glasgow vs Munster
17:15Ospreys vs Ulster
Sunday 21st December
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Zebre
Friday 26th December
14:05Cardiff Blues vs Newport Gwent D'gons
17:00Munster vs Leinster
Saturday 27th December
TBCUlster vs Connacht
14:40Glasgow vs Edinburgh
16:00Zebre vs Benetton Treviso
17:15Ospreys vs Scarlets
Thursday 1st January
14:05Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues
Saturday 3rd January
TBCBenetton Treviso vs Zebre
14:40Leinster vs Ulster
17:05Scarlets vs Ospreys
Friday 9th January
19:35Connacht vs Edinburgh
19:35Glasgow vs Scarlets
Saturday 10th January
TBCBenetton Treviso vs Ulster

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