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- Guinness PRO12
- 19th Apr 2014
- KO 18:15
- Ground: Galway Sportsground
- Att: 6,227
RaboDirect Pro12: Munster see off Connacht
Munster warmed up for their Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulon with a bonus-point 32-23 victory over provincial rivals Connacht.
Andrew Conway, Gerhard van den Heever, Denis Hurley and man-of-the-match Paddy Butler all touched down at the Sportsground as Munster moved back into second place in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Rob Penney's men established a flattering 27-8 half-time lead, squeezing in two late tries from a Van den Heever intercept and Hurley's breakaway score via a cheap Connacht turnover.
The hosts had led 8-7 early on with a neat back-line move sending Matt Healy over in the left corner in response to Conway's 17th-minute opener.
Eoin McKeon and Danie Poolman crossed for Connacht in a scrappy second half, but in between Butler burrowed over in the 72nd minute.
An eye-catching charge from prop David Kilcoyne initially got the Munster attack in motion and the impressive Conway twice had to be closed down on his right wing.
Paul O'Connell was prominent up front but, despite their lion's share of possession, Munster fell behind in the 15th minute when Miah Nikora left-footed a long-range penalty through the posts.
Poor defending from Connacht allowed Munster to hit back just over a minute later. A move from the base of the scrum saw Duncan Williams feed Conway on an angled run and he slipped by Willie Faloon to race in under the posts.
After Ian Keatley converted, Connacht returned the favour in scoring off set-piece ball. They swung scrum possession wide to the left, using two decoy runners in the middle, as crisp passes from Eoin Griffin and Darragh Leader released winger Healy for the corner.
The try went unconverted and the tit-for-tat scoring continued as Keatley clipped over two successive penalties, punishing Faloon for not rolling away and then rewarding an advancing Munster scrum.
Leader and Robbie Henshaw took up the baton for Connacht, both carrying forcefully before Nikora's cross-field kick almost led to a try for leaping winger Poolman.
Munster struck a blow five minutes before the break, though, as Van den Heever gobbled up Henshaw's pass to run in an intercept effort from the 10-metre line.
Connacht were unfortunate to leak a third try in the 38th minute, the match officials missing James Downey's high no-arms tackle on Poolman and turnover ball saw Williams collect his own chip and send Hurley sprinting away for another seven-pointer.
CJ Stander was adjudged to have lost the ball forward as Munster pressed for the opening try of the second half, which Connacht eventually scored in the 53rd minute.
No 8 McKeon was sent over in the left corner by league debutant Conor Gilsenan following some patient build-up play.
The westerners reduced the arrears to 27-16 thanks to a Nikora penalty as Munster butchered a couple of opportunities from close-in lineouts.
Henshaw and Poolman scrambled well to deny Conway in the left corner, however the visitors made certain of their five-point return when Donncha O'Callaghan won a turnover on the deck and number eight Butler muscled over from a ruck.
Munster emptied their bench with Conor Murray getting some game-time in the out-half position, with their usual back-up number 10 JJ Hanrahan currently nursing a groin injury.
Connacht gained some late consolation when Poolman picked off a loose pass and cantered clear for a deserved score which Dan Parks converted.RaboDirect Pro 12. Click here to bet.
Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|TBC||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
|Sunday 11th January|
|Ospreys 22 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Benetton Treviso 20 - 24 Ulster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com