Munster made it two Magners League wins in a row against Welsh opposition as they downed the Dragons in a lacklustre clash at Musgrave Park.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, April 28
MUNSTER (3) 15 Newport Gwent Dragons (7) 7, Musgrave Park (Att: 4,517)
Scorers: Munster: Tries: Denis Leamy 2; Con: Ronan O’Gara; Pen: Ronan O’Gara
Newport Gwent Dragons: Try: Aled Thomas; Con: Aled Thomas
In their penultimate home game of the season, Declan Kidney’s side followed their 20-0 dismissal of the Scarlets with another win, carved out by Irish international Denis Leamy’s two second half touchdowns.
Having led 7-3 at the break, the Dragons failed to make any mark on the second period and were not helped by two sin-binnings in the space of three minutes for Jamie Ringer and Michael Owen.
Out-half Aled Thomas, who claimed all of the Welsh side’s points, helped the visitors settle early but he pushed a 12th-minute penalty chance wide of the posts.
He also missed an easier chance, eight minutes later, after Munster prop Marcus Horan had seen yellow for a scuffle with Andy Hall.
Munster upped their game in the following minutes, getting into the Dragons’ 22 and lock Mick O’Driscoll, who took the man of the match award, was unfortunate to miss out on a try as referee Andy Macpherson called him back for a knock-on.
Ronan O’Gara did boot the hosts into the lead with a subsequent penalty, after a high tackle on Barry Murphy.
But the Dragons ended the half in front as Thomas, having missed his third kick at the posts, turned hero on 39 minutes when he intercepted a midfield pass from O’Gara and raced over for a try he converted himself.
However, Munster were soon back in charge after the break as Ringer, who was caught throwing punches, and skipper Owen, who put in a dangerous challenge on O’Driscoll at a line-out, were both given time to cool off on the sidelines.
The tries eventually came with Leamy crossing the whitewash off a five-metre scrum.
O’Gara’s conversion attempt went wide, but although the visitors were restored to their full compliment, Munster had enough power up front and dominance at the set piece to send Leamy charging over again off the back of a 62nd-minute scrum.
However, injuries sustained by both Brian Carney and Donncha O’Callaghan will be of a concern to both the Munster and Ireland management teams.
MUNSTER: Christian Cullen; Ian Dowling, Barry Murphy, Lifeimi Mafi, Brian Carney; Ronan O’Gara (capt), Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Frankie Sheahan, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, John O’Sullivan, Denis Leamy.
Replacements used: Mossie Lawlor for Carney (37 mins), David Wallace for O’Callaghan (58), Federico Pucciariello for Horan (62), Brian O’Meara for Lawlor (77). Not used: Denis Fogarty, James Coughlan, Jeremy Manning.
DRAGONS: Martyn Thomas; Richard Fussell, Paul Emerick, Phil Dollman, Aled Brew; Aled Thomas, Alex Walker; Adam Black, Ben Daly, Rhys Thomas, Andrew Hall, Peter Sidoli, Joe Bearman, Jamie Ringer, Michael Owen (capt).
Replacements used: Steve Jones for Daly, Ian Gough for Hall (both 69 mins), Kevin Morgan for A Brew (76). Not used: Jamie Corsi, Luke Charteris, Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Cooper.
Referee: Andy Macpherson (Scotland)