Rugby: Feelgood Factor Is Back As Munster Run Riot

Posted by


rsz_mike_ohalloranOur rugby writer, Mike O’Halloran, was at Thomond Park today where he saw Munster run riot over Sale Sharks…

Munster 65

Sale Sharks 10

THERE was a try fest in Thomond this afternoon with Munster scoring eight second half tries.

Simon Zebo twisted his way to the line to touch down after a minute but Sale Sharks came back to score a try of their own when Arscott strolled past Keatley, who just about tickled Arscott on his way past him.

Munster 1

Munster warming up before today’s game against Sale Sharks. Photo by Mike O’Halloran

It was Munster 13 Sale Sharks 10 at halftime in this exhibition/international audition game, which was a complete dead rubber and to my mind.

It should have been used by the Munster management to play the players available for the Guinness Pro 12.

At halftime, the under 11s from Castleisland played an exhibition game and scored a lovely try.

That said the men that Munster will have to depend on to progress in the Pro 12 showed well, especially ex-Leinster man Andrew Conway, Ronan O’Mahony and replacements Ivan Dineen and JJ Hanrahan.

There was a fear that “The Brave and Faithful” Red Army would not show up for a game of no consequence on a Sunday afternoon.

My fear was, like all armies facing defeat, old men, women and children are conscripted to bolster the ranks, but in fairness a decent crowd showed up.

Saracens brought a team short of quite a number of their regulars – preferring to concentrate their efforts for the remaining games in The Premiership – and came to play as The Barbarians, do allowing Munster to run riot in the second half.

It was also mooted during the build-up to this game, that perhaps it would be the last time we would see the colossus that was Paul O’Connell play in European competition in Thomond Park.

I regret to say I think I was correct in saying his best days are behind him.

There were glimpses of his greatness today, but here was also an eagerness to make amends for the poor display last week in London that led to a few errors.

Lets hope O’Connell stays fit and healthy enough to play in the World Cup. Andrew Conway is becoming quite a favourite with the Munster fans and his two tries today and general work rate will endear him further.

Duncan Willams also got over the try line, which must have been of some comfort to him after last weekend.

Keith Earls surely impressed the Irish team manager with a great all-round display and a tremendous try.

Simon Zebo, the darling of Munster fans, was awarded man of the match, and well he might with two tries, 18 carries and 119 meters gained.

He is a little down the pecking order in his preferred position in the international set up, but his display at full back today might open another position for him.

Our own J.J. Hanrahan was on target with four kicks (well almost,  he scored three conversions and hit the post with the other), he got twelve minutes on the pitch today.

Munster owned this game with 64% possession and 65% territory.

Overall there was a feelgood feeling around Thomond Park this evening and we can only hope that following the remaining games in The Guinness Pro 12, that feeling continues.

A vital game for Munster in the coming weeks is the home game with Connaught, where Munster will be hoping to reverse the drubbing in Galway a few weeks ago, that would be another morale-booster on the road to qualification for the Champions Cup.

In the quarter finals of the Champions Cup the only Irish province left in the European Champions Cup, Leinster play Bath at home, the Bath reserve scrum half is none other than the great Munster man Peter stringer.

The winners of Munster’s group ASM Clermont Auvergne play J.J. Hanrahans new club Northampton Saints, Racing Metro where Johnny Sexton plays at number ten and Ronan O’Gara coaches take on Saracens.

R.C. Toulon will be at home to Wasps who have recently moved away from London to a new home at The Ricoh Stadium in Coventry. Wasps have reached the quarter finals despite losing two games.

So lots of Irish interest still in the European Champions Rugby Cup despite the demise of Munster

Comments are closed.