18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Nonetheless, it was a deserved win for Munster against an almost full-strength Newcastle line-up.
In front of approx. 7,000 supporters, Munster got off to the worst possible start when referee David Keane adjudged that Christian Cullen carried the ball over his own line after two minutes. From the resulting 5m scrum, New Zealander Mark Mayerhofler scored under the posts, helped by some weak tackling from Munster.
Paul Burke pegged the deficit back with a penalty after 4 minutes and a second three-pointer after half an hour to leave Munster trailing by just one at the break.
A Wilkinson penalty before he departed on the hour mark opened the gap to four. Munster, however, dominated territorially and had chances to score through subsitute Brian Tuohy off a Mullins break, and Leamy, who was twice over the Newcastle line.
Eventually, however, they got their reward when Mossie Lawlor jinked his way over in the sixth minute of injury time. Converting his own try was a nice little coup de grace.
With a good win in a competitive friendly and runouts for nine substitutes as well as the starting fifteen, this was as much as Alan Gaffney could have hoped for prior to the start of competitive action.
MUNSTER - C Cullen, S Payne (M McPhail 60 mins), J Storey (B Tuohy 70), R Henderson (M Mullins h/t), A Horgan (M Lawler 52), P Burke, M Prendergast (E Reddan 60), G McIlwham, J Flannery (J Blaney 45), M Storey (E McGovern 70), D Ryan (S O'Connor 55), T Hogan, S Peogh, D Leamy, J Williams (J O'Connor 60).
NEWCASTLE - J Shaw, E Taione, J Noon, M Mayerhofler, M Stephenson, J Wilkinson, J Grindal, I Peel, A Long, M Hurter, S Grimes, C Hamilton, M McCarthy, P Dowson, C Charvis.
REF - D Keane (Leinster).