Irish Out half Paul Burke showed his class at Musgrave Park, notching a 20-point haul as Munster slayed the Dragons to move third in the Celtic League.
Munster 25 Dragons 16, Musgrave Park
On a weekend when Ronan O’Gara scored all Ireland’s points in a landmark test win, his provincial deputy Paul Burke showed his class at Musgrave Park, notching a 20-point haul as Munster slayed the Dragons to move third in the Celtic League.
31-year-old Burke, whose last international cap came as a replacement for O’Gara against Samoa in June of last year, hammered over seven successful kicks – including six penalties as Munster chalked up their seven straight win.
In a stop-start game, the former Harlequin had a calming influence on proceedings, hitting a third penalty in first half injury to edge his kicking duel with Craig Warlow 9-6 at the break.
Despite the concession of a lengthy drop goal eight minutes after the restart from former Wales A fly-half Warlow, Munster wrestled control away from Chris Anderson’s visitors as Burke slammed over a succession of kicks on 50, 65 and 68 minutes.
With eleven minutes remaining, Mike Prendergast’s box kick from halfway was fumbled by Kevin Morgan with flanker Denis Leamy in close attendance, and Mossie Lawlor’s inside switch sent former Lions centre Rob Henderson galloping to the Dragons line.
Burke, who has now succeeded with his last ten kicks, added the conversion and although Morgan gained retribution with an injury time 60-metre breakaway try, a first win in Cork since February was Munster’s.
Afterwards man-of-the-match Leamy commented: “The first half was very touch and go – they made us fight all the way.
“In the second half we looked maybe to go a bit wider, creat more space and find the gaps. I think it paid off with the try.
“We’re just taking every game as it comes,” added the 22-year-old. “People thought we might suffer without the international boys, but we’re proving them wrong.”
Munster: Try: Rob Henderson; Con: Paul Burke; Pens: Burke 6
Dragons: Try: Kevin Morgan; Con: Craig Warlow; Pens: Warlow 2; Drop gl: Warlow
15 – C Cullen
14 – M Lawlor
13 – S Payne
12 – R Henderson
11 – A Horgan
10 – P Burke
9 – M Prendergast
1 – F Roche
2 – J Blaney
3 – G Mcllwham
4 – T Bowman
5 – T Hogan
6 – S Keogh
7 – D Leamy
8 – J Williams
M Mullins for Horgan (78 mins);M Storey for Roche (79 mins).