First half tries from Barry Murphy (2) and Barry O’Mahony, allied to a late effort from James Coughlan, helped Munster to a 16-point victory over Leinster in Thursday’s ‘A’ Interprovincial clash at the UL Bowl.
‘A’ INTERPROVINCIAL: Thursday, November 22
MUNSTER ‘A’ 27 LEINSTER ‘A’ 11, UL Bowl
Scorers: Munster ‘A’: Tries: Barry Murphy 2, Barry O’Mahony, James Coughlan; Cons: Jeremy Manning 2; Pen: Jeremy Manning
Leinster ‘A’: Try: Jamie Hagan; Pens: Ian Keatley 2
Munster looked as if they would overwhelm Leinster in this lively encounter at the University of Limerick. The men in red romped into a 22-6 interval lead.
During the opening half, the home side scored three tries, two of them from centre Barry Murphy, who must have impressed the watching Declan Kidney as he bids to regain his place in the Munster senior side.
Both of Murphy’s scores were spectacular efforts. His first try, after nine minutes, was a gem. He made the initial break, which was carried on by team captain James Coughlan and Barry O’Mahony, and the UL Bohemians clubman then popped up in the right place to go over unchallenged.
Jeremy Manning added the conversion, having opened the scoring with a huge penalty after only three minutes.
Keith Earls made a magnificent break to send Murphy in for his second after 20 minutes and again Manning converted.
Leinster ‘A’ out-half Ian Keatley slotted two first half penalties, in the fifth-minute and the second after Murphy’s second try, but Munster ‘A’ ended the half in style when flanker O’Mahony was driven over in the corner by his pack colleagues.
A powerful Munster maul, following a lineout, did most of the damage, moving the hosts 22-6 clear for the break with Manning missing the conversion.
Leinster ‘A’ dominated for long periods of the second half but they frittered away a number of scoring opportunities. Munster almost got in for a fourth try from a marvellous jinking run by Mossie Lawlor but a hand trip by his opposite number Fionn Carr brought him down inches short of the try line.
Having survived that surge, Leinster ‘A’ got on top as the home side seemed to sleep on their lead. The visitors were rewarded for a concerted spell of pressure when replacement prop Jamie Hagan crashed over for a try which Keatley narrowly failed to convert from the right.
Munster’s outstanding skipper Coughlan hit back for his side in the last minute when he grabbed a deserved try to end the scoring of an entertaining tie, which was effectively decided in the first half.
MUNSTER ‘A’: Mossie Lawlor; Keith Earls, Barry Murphy, Conan Doyle, Ciaran O’Boyle; Jeremy Manning, Duncan Williams; David Ryan, Denis Fogarty, Tim Ryan, Mark Melbourne, Dave Sherry, Billy Holland, Barry O’Mahony, James Coughlan (capt).
Replacements used: Tommy O’Donnell for Holland (51 mins), Michael Essex for Fogarty (52), Tom Gleeson for Lawlor, Evan Ryan for Manning (both 60), Darragh Hurley for T Ryan (64), Gary Walsh for D Ryan (65), Gerry Hurley for Williams (70).
LEINSTER ‘A’: Fionn Carr; Shane Monahan, Felix Jones, Michael Berne, Vasily Artemiev; Ian Keatley, Paul O’Donohoe; Ruaidhri Murphy, Richie Sweeney, Paul Doran Jones, Richie Leyden, Ben Nagle, Stuart Abbott, Sean O’Brien (capt), Kevin Sheahan.
Replacements used: Niall Smullen for Nagle (10 mins), Jamie Hagan for Murphy, Gavin O’Meara for Sweeney (both half-time), James Power for Keatley, Matthew D’Arcy for O’Donohoe (both 50), Kevin McKenzie for Monahan, Kyle Tonetti for Artemiev, Brian Moroney for Leyden (all 60).
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ulster)