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Munster Qualify For British & Irish Cup Final

Munster Qualify For British & Irish Cup Final

Anthony Foley’s talented Munster side made history at Thomond Park on Saturday as they became the first Irish province to reach a British & Irish Cup final, courtesy of a 27-3 victory over Ulster Ravens.

BRITISH & IRISH CUP – SEMI-FINAL: Saturday, April 24


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Scorers: Munster: Tries: Jeremy Manning 2, Duncan Williams, Mike Sherry; Cons: Declan Cusack 2; Pen: Declan Cusack
Ulster Ravens: Pen: James McKinney

Tries from Jeremy Manning (2), Duncan Williams and Mike Sherry helped Munster secure their place in the inaugural British & Irish Cup final on Sunday, May 16, with the Cornish Pirates or Doncaster Knights providing the opposition.

It was always going to be a tough battle at Thomond Park with the competition’s best defensive side coming up against the best attacking team, and Munster proved worthy of such a record as they never let Ulster Ravens cross the try-line.

In a physical but scrappy game, Munster found their way through the Ulster defence on four occasions, twice in the first half and twice in the second.

The first try came off an Ulster error as young centre Michael Allen’s try-line clearance found Manning and the Munster number 12 was able to race down the touchline and dive over for Munster’s opening score, which out-half Declan Cusack failed to convert.

Ulster replied with a penalty after 16 minutes, with their Ireland Under-20 out-half James McKinney splitting the posts for the visitors’ only points of the entire final.

After a great break from winger Ronan O’Mahony through the middle, Munster started building the phases as they powered into the Ravens’ 22. Scrum half Williams spotted a gap and went himself to score Munster’s second unconvertd try.

Cusack added a penalty just before the break, giving Munster a 13-3 lead at half-time. 

Munster picked off their third try, eight minutes into the second half, with Manning completing his brace. The New Zealander, who was used as a replacement against Connacht last weekend, certainly made his presence felt in the decider – enjoying his time in the centre, aggressively attacking the line and proving solid in defence.

Hooker Mike Sherry added the fourth final try on the 61st minute, which arrived after a series of strength-sapping drives from the pack. Cusack tagged on the conversion to push the margin out to an unassailable 24 points.

Speaking after the game, Munster team manager Mick Galwey said: “It was a great display out there today from the young lads as they proved their hunger and dedication once again and they have now secured a place in the final.

“The work they have put in throughout the season is paying off and today’s performance is down to everyone involved, from the 22 playing today across the board to the 40 or so players we work with. It has been great.”

MUNSTER: Mossie Lawlor (Shannon); Ronan O’Mahony (Garryowen), Danny Barnes (Dolphin), Jeremy Manning (Cork Constitution), Sean Scanlon (UCC); Declan Cusack (Thomond), Duncan Williams (Cork Constitution); Dave Ryan (Dolphin), Mike Sherry (Garryowen), Stephen Archer (Cork Constitution), Dave Foley (UL Bohemians), Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution), Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians), Eoghan Grace (Shannon), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution) (capt).

Replacements used: Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians) for Ryan (half-time), Paddy Butler (Shannon) for Grace (59), Mike Kelliher (Richmond) for Barnes, Conor Murray (Garryowen) for Williams (both 65), David O’Callaghan (UCC) for O’Donnell (70), Luke O’Dea (Shannon) for Manning, Sean Henry (UL Bohemians) for Sherry (both 75).

ULSTER RAVENS: David McIlwaine (Queen’s University); Chris Cochrane (Dungannon), Michael Allen (Belfast Harlequins), Jonny Shiels (Queen’s University), Tommy Seymour (Ballymena); James McKinney (Queen’s University), Ian Porter (Queen’s University); Paddy McAllister (Ballynahinch), Nigel Brady (Dungannon) (capt), Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon), Andrew Linton (Queen’s University), Neil McComb (Belfast Harlequins), Ali Birch (Dungannon), Stephen Dougall (Malone), Scott La Valla (Dublin University).

Replacements used: Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins) for Brady, Paul Karayiannis (Queen’s University) for McAllister (both 60 mins), Michael Pyper (Queen’s University) for McKinney (68), Luke Marshall (Ballymena) for Allen (70). Not used: Neville Magee (Dungannon), Stuart McKenzie (Dungannon), Craig Gilroy (Dungannon).

Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)