Click here for photos from the Celtic League derby clash between Ulster and Munster at Ravenhill.
Winger Tommy Bowe, number 8 Roger Wilson, centre Paul Steinmetz, lock Justin Harrison and replacement flanker Neil McMillan all touched down as Ulster beat Munster 27-3 on Friday night to go top of the Celtic League. Pictured above: Munster’s trip north was further soured when centre Barry Murphy was forced off through injury after only 26 minutes. Tests at hospital revealed that the UL Bohs clubman had unfortunately dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia, meaning his season is at an end. Kilkenny-born winger Ian Dowling also sustained a neck injury, but could still be in contention for next month’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Perpignan.
Munster coach Declan Kidney said afterwards: “The defeat was disappointing, but the circumstances even more so. It’s never nice to have injuries, particularly when it happens to young guys who have been so influential in recent months. But that’s the way things go.”
Ulster flanker Neil Best tackles Munster’s Tomas O’Leary at Ravenhill. Ulster moved two points clear at the summit after picking up their second win of the second over their red-shirted rivals from the south. Ulster coach Mark McCall said: “We are where we want to be at the moment, but we want to be there on May 27 (the final round of league matches) and I think we are capable of doing it.
“The frustrating thing is that we won’t see each other for a while – there’s the break for the 6 Nations and we would love a game next Friday night. Some of our players are going away with Ireland some with the Ireland ‘A’ team and some with the Under-21s and we have just got to keep our fingers crossed that they come back to us in good shape. And if they do, we’ll be looking forward to taking on the Dragons (at Ravenhill on March 25).”
Munster’s Stephen Keogh, who deputised in the second row for late withdrawal Mick O’Driscoll, is tackled by Ulster and Ireland fly half David Humphreys.
UL Bohemians lock Brian Madigan, who made his competitive debut for Munster at Ravenhill, is tackled by Ulster centre Jonny Bell. Madigan received the call-up after Shannon’s Donnacha Ryan was ruled out through injury (sparained ankle).
Ulster’s Roger Wilson brings the progress of Munster centre Trevor Halstead to a halt.
Ulster’s Australian lock Justin Harrison lays back ruck ball. It took 14 matches, but the 31-year-old finally grabbed his first Celtic League try on Friday night. The 6ft 8in star took the plaudits after a brilliant display against Munster, but was quick to praise his team mates. “I now have one Super 12 try, one Test try and one Celtic league try – so I’m happy with that,” he said. “The only reason that I could do my job is that the scrum and lineout was performing well. There are so many moving parts requiring other players to do their jobs, and I really think the forwards took advantage of a depleted Munster side. Nonetheless you can only play what is in front and you and I thought we played pretty well.”
Roger Wilson jumps for the same ball with Ulster captain Simon Best, but mistakes were few and far between for the northerners who had little trouble in chalking up their fifth win in seven league outings at Ravenhill this season.
Munster scrum half Tomas O’Leary tries to get past the challenge of Simon Best.
**All photos by Lorraine O’Sullivan of Inpho Photography**