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Celtic Cup: Munster Set Up All-Irish Semi

Celtic Cup: Munster Set Up All-Irish Semi

An Anthony Foley injury-time try finally pushed Munster clear of Edinburgh and set up a mouth-watering Celtic Cup semi-final showdown with Leinster next Sunday.

An Anthony Foley injury-time try finally pushed Munster clear of Edinburgh and set up a mouth-watering Celtic Cup semi-final showdown with Leinster next Sunday.

Celtic Cup Quarter-Final: Saturday, April 30

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Munster 24 Edinburgh 14, Thomond Park
Scorers: Munster: Tries: Alan Quinlan, Anthony Horgan, Anthony Foley; Cons: Paul Burke 3; Pen: Burke

Edinburgh: Tries: Brendan Laney, Dougie Hall; Cons: Chris Paterson 2

Munster’s 31-year-old skipper Foley out-muscled Mike Blair to grab his side’s third touchdown late on and finally put some daylight between Alan Gaffney’s men and Edinburgh.

Frank Hadden’s Scots – 27-21 losers to Ulster in last year’s Cup final – came on a mission but failed to get a similar blitzkrieg start to the one which saw them 13-0 up in their league visit to Limerick two weeks ago.

With the tie billed as Gaffney’s Thomond Park send-off and another of Munster’s retiring brigade, Jim Williams – sidelined due to an elbow injury – receiving a warm reception at half-time, a geed-up Munster began well.

Anthony Horgan dived in at the left corner on 7 minutes, only to have his effort ruled out for a forward pass from John Kelly. Six minutes later, a clever break from Paul O’Connell – one of three 2005 Lions on show – sent Alan Quinlan in for Munster’s try opener as the flanker stepped inside the cover to beat Edinburgh skipper Todd Blackadder for the line.

In gusty conditions, Paul Burke chipped the conversion over but two penalty misses from the fly-half allowed Edinburgh mount a comeback.

From a broken down Munster attack, Kiwi-born Scotland international Brendan Laney picked up and dummied twice past a bemused David Wallace and Horgan to gleefully touch down between the posts.

Recently named Scotland Player of the year Chris Paterson converted and topped up hooker Dougie Hall’s 32nd-minute try as Hadden’s charges ended the opening half 14-7 up.

Edinburgh shifted a lineout drive infield and with Munster’s defence at sea, 24-year-old Hall bulldozed through for his second score of the season to the right of the posts.

A silly sin binning for Edinburgh lock Nathan Hines in first half injury-time only began to take due affect after the restart.

Four minutes in, Burke clipped over his first penalty success from the left flank. On 51 minutes, a scintillating left wing break from full-back Shaun Payne sent – which saw him pick a line prop Allan Jacobsen – put Horgan over in the corner, with Burke converting for 17-14.

Strangely, Edinburgh failed to net a single scoring chance to reply in the final half hour, breaking only briefly into Munster territory.

Donncha O’Callaghan did miss a glorious chance to net Munster’s but Foley made certain of his side’s tenth straight Thomond win off a close-in scrum snipe in the fifth minute of injury-time.

All that means Australia-bound Gaffney will come face-to-face for a final time with the province he helped to league glory against Munster at Lansdowne Road in 2001.

The semi should also provide Ireland’s management team with a decent trial-type setting ahead of the Japan tour next month.


(15) Shaun Payne
(14) John Kelly
(13) Mike Mullins
(12) Rob Henderson
(11) Anthony Horgan
(10) Paul Burke
(9) Peter Stringer
(1) Marcus Horan
(2) Frankie Sheahan
(3) John Hayes
(4) Paul O’Connell
(5) Donncha O’Callaghan
(6) Alan Quinlan
(7) David Wallace
(8) Anthony Foley (Capt)

Replacements used: Mike Prendergast for Stringer (52-63 mins), Denis Leamy for Wallace (72). Not used: Eugene McGovern, Jerry Flannery, Trevor Hogan, Paul Devlin, Jeremy Manning.

Edinburgh: Hugo Southwell; Chris Paterson, Marcus Di Rollo, Brendan Laney, Simon Webster; Phil Godman, Mike Blair; Allan Jacobsen, Dougie Hall, Craig Smith, Nathan Hines, Scott Murray, Todd Blackadder (Capt), Allister Hogg, Simon Taylor.
Replacements used: Alasdair Dickinson for Jacobsen (54 mins), Jacobsen for Smith, Andrew Kelly for Hall, Alastair Kellock for Murray (all 69), Simon Cross for Blackadder (79). Not used: Ben MacDougall, Rory Lawson, Michael Pyke.

Sin-bin: Nathan Hines (Edinburgh) (42 mins, first half)

HT: Munster 7 Edinburgh 14; Attendance: 6,000

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)