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Ideal Send-Off For Munster

Ideal Send-Off For Munster

A six-try salute to their Thomond Park faithful was an ideal send-off for Munster ahead of next weekend’s Heineken Cup semi-final showdown with Leinster.

…Ian Dowling runs in for his first half try at Thomond Park…

A six-try salute to their Thomond Park faithful was an ideal send-off for Munster ahead of next weekend’s Heineken Cup semi-final showdown with Leinster.

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CELTIC LEAGUE: Saturday, April 15

MUNSTER 36 EDINBURGH 15, Thomond Park (Att: 9,000)

Scorers: Munster: Tries: Federico Pucciariello, Shaun Payne, Jerry Flannery, Ian Dowling, Penalty try, John Kelly; Cons: Paul Burke 3

Edinburgh: Tries: Scott Murray, Dave Duley; Con: Duncan Hodge; Pen: Hodge

Declan Kidney’s men got back to winning ways in the Celtic League – after a three-game blip – scorching over for six tries in a morale-boosting defeat of Edinburgh. Federico Pucciariello, Shaun Payne, Jerry Flannery and Ian Dowling did the damage in the first half with John Kelly and a penalty try confirming Munster’s fifth successive win against Edinburgh after the break.

The Scots were very much in contention in the first half. Their captain Scott Murray showed a neat turn of pace to finish off a 16th-minute try, and only some vigorous defence from Munster prevented Edinburgh from adding to their first half tally.

Murray’s replacement in the second row, Dave Duley did get over for a try with eight minutes remaining, but it was an ultimately meaningless score with the hosts already out of sight.

It was typically punchy start from Munster with Italian prop Pucciariello going on the peel off a lineout, won by Mick O’Driscoll, and powering over for a fourth-minute try – his second in as many League games.

Fly-half Paul Burke missed the extras and the former Harlequin had an off-night with the boot, landing just three conversions.

Some great interplay between Alastair Kellock and Alasdair Dickinson put Murray romping through for a quick reply. Duncan Hodge converted for the lead, and Allister Hogg almost got in for another try for the visitors. Full-back Payne did well to halt the Scotland back row’s 30-metre run close to the Munster line.

Four minutes later, Munster were down to 14 men when winger Anthony Horgan was harshly sin-binned for going over the top of a tackle on Simon Webster. That seemed to be the turning point for Munster as they added three tries before the break to go 22-7 in front.

Payne cut through the tackle of prop Craig Smith out on the left flank for the first. Edinburgh then had full-back Hugo Southwell yellow carded as he illegally prevented Dowling from collecting his own chip ahead.

Moments later, hooker Flannery was on the end of a lineout maul for another try and Dowling got his revenge and Munster’s bonus point try when he took a bouncing pass from captain Anthony Foley who was making his 161st appearance for the province – and evaded the tackle of Peter Jorgensen to score.

Five minutes into the second half, Hodge gave the Gunners hope with a 35-metre penalty.

However, a 66th-minute penalty try – with the ball kicked out of a Munster scrum – and a wonderful score, two minutes later, from centre Kelly, who started the move and linked brilliantly with David Wallace in the build-up, saw the men in red coast clear to go third in the table, setting up an Irish 1-2-3.

More importantly for the week that’s in it, the mometum for next Sunday’s clash at Lansdowne Road would seem to be with Munster.

TIME LINE: 4 minutes – Munster try: Federico Pucciariello – 5-0; conversion: missed by Paul Burke; 16 mins – Edinburgh try: Scott Murray – 5-5; conversion: Duncan Hodge – 5-7; 28 mins – Munster sin binning: Anthony Horgan; 31 mins – Munster try: Shaun Payne – 10-7; conversion: missed by Paul Burke; 35 mins – Edinburgh sin binning: Hugo Southwell; 36 mins – Munster try: Jerry Flannery – 15-7; conversion: missed by Paul Burke; 40+5 mins – Munster try: Ian Dowling – 20-7; conversion: Paul Burke – 22-7; Half-time – Munster 22 Edinburgh 7; 45 mins – Edinburgh penalty: Duncan Hodge – 22-10; 66 mins – Munster try: Penalty try – 27-10; conversion: Paul Burke – 29-10; 68 mins – Munster try: John Kelly – 34-10; conversion: Paul Burke – 36-10; 72 mins – Edinburgh try: Dave Duley – 36-15; conversion: missed by Duncan Hodge; Full-time – Munster 36 Edinburgh 15

MUNSTER: Shaun Payne; Anthony Horgan, John Kelly, Trevor Halstead, Ian Dowling; Paul Burke, Peter Stringer; Federico Pucciariello, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Mick O’Driscoll, David Wallace, Anthony Foley (capt).

Replacements used: Denis Fogarty for Flannery (half-time), Trevor Hogan for O’Connell, John O’Sullivan for Wallace, Rob Henderson for Dowling, Frankie Roche for Hayes (all 70), Mike Prendergast for Stringer, Mossie Lawlor for Kelly (both 73).

EDINBURGH: Hugo Southwell; Francisco Leonelli, Marcus Di Rollo, Peter Jorgensen, Simon Webster; Duncan Hodge, Michael Blair; Alasdair Dickinson, Andrew Kelly, Craig Smith, Alastair Kellock, Scott Murray (capt), Allister Hogg, Alasdair Strokosch, Simon Taylor.

Replacements used: Phil Godman for Jorgensen (half-time), Nic De Luca for Leonelli (50 mins), Allan Jacobsen for Smith (55), Dave Duley for Murray (60), Alan McDonald for Taylor (68). Not used: David Hewett, Rory Lawson.

Sin Bin: A Horgan (Munster) (28 mins), H Southwell (Edinburgh) (35)

Referee: Hugh Watkins (Wales).