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Munster

  • O'Mahony, Cronin,
    Penalty goals: Hanrahan (3),
    Conversions: Hanrahan (2),
23 - 9

Newport Gwent D'gons


  • Penalty goals: Burton (3),
  • Guinness PRO12
  • 28th Sep 2013
  • KO 18:45
  • Att: 6,248

RaboDirect PRO12: Munster grind out victory over Dragons

Last updated: 28th September 2013  

Coombs Andrew Newport Dragons

Andrew Coombs: Dragons captain was sin-binned after the break

 Paul OConnell

Paul O'Connell: Enjoyed a return to action in the second-half

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Paul O'Connell made a successful return in Munster's workmanlike 23-9 RaboDirect PRO12 win over the Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park.

Introduced by Munster for the closing 30 minutes, O'Connell was playing for the first time since fracturing his right forearm during the Lions' opening Test against Australia in June.

The second row was closely watched by new Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and forwards coach John Plumtree from the stands as Munster bounced back from losing in Treviso last weekend.

Prop James Cronin's second try of the season gave Munster a 13-6 advantage at the break, the hosts moving clear after Kris Burton had matched JJ Hanrahan's early brace of penalties.

Yellow cards for Dragons captain Andrew Coombs and Jevon Groves left the Welsh region in all sorts of trouble and Munster skipper Peter O'Mahony's close-range try, supplemented by a further Hanrahan conversion and penalty, made the game safe.

The Dragons, who opened their campaign with two wins from three, were level at 6-6 by the end of the opening quarter in Cork without having achieved much in attack.

O'Mahony and his back-row colleague Paddy Butler were the guilty parties as Burton cancelled out Hanrahan's lead scores, the former Ireland Under-20 star having landed penalties after seven and 19 minutes.

Hanrahan missed a tricky third attempt from the left wing and as the Dragons' well-organised defence continued to frustrate Munster, Burton was off target with a snap drop goal effort.

A knock on from a lineout maul, allied to a scrum infringement from John Ryan, prevented Munster from creating pressure in the Dragons' 22, but O'Mahony swooped on Hugh Gustafson's overthrown lineout to set his side up for a telling 35th-minute attack.

Direct running from Ivan Dineen punctured the visitors' defence and with Cathal Sheridan delivering quickly from the base of rucks, Cronin came on the charge to bulldoze through a tackle and make the try-line.

As the rain began to fall, Hanrahan fired over the conversion from the left to establish a seven-point advantage and give Munster something to build on.

Sin-binned

Burton clawed back three points early in the second half, slamming over a penalty from just inside the Munster half, but the Dragons lost the services of Coombs shortly afterwards.

The Dragons skipper was sin-binned for a reckless use of the boot on Damien Varley as he attempted to clear a ruck and just a minute later, flanker Groves followed him for collapsing an advancing Munster maul.

The 13 men could not hold out and O'Mahony wormed his way over from a close-in ruck, with confirmation from TMO Jude Quinn, and Hanrahan's successful conversion making it 20-9.

O'Connell came on to huge acclaim from the home crowd, joining fellow stalwart in the second row, as the province tried to push on for a bonus point.

But Dragons replacement Sam Parry won a crucial penalty as his side defended close to their line, and it was the Welshmen who had the better scoring chances in the closing stages.

Munster were forced to defend for much of the remainder, with Dan Evans and Ross Wardle both crowded out in the right corner as the Dragons hunted for their own bonus point.

Their best opportunity was spoiled by a Wardle knock on as replacement Jason Tovey looked set to put him over late on.

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - November 23 2014
Pos Team P Pts
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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 Warriors vs Dragons
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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