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Munster ‘A’ Produce Comeback Win In Galway

Munster ‘A’ Produce Comeback Win In Galway

Munster ‘A’ came from behind to register a 15-13 win over Connacht Eagles in Friday’s ‘A’ interprovincial fixture at the Sportsground.


CONNACHT EAGLES 13 MUNSTER ‘A’ 15, the Sportsground

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Scorers: Connacht Eagles: Try: Mata Fifita; Con: Miah Nikora; Pens: Miah Nikora 2
Munster ‘A’: Tries: Darren Sweetnam, Kevin O’Byrne, Shane Buckley

This was the second time the Peter Malone-coached Munster ‘A’ side have beaten their Connacht counterparts this season – the men in red were 20-12 winners when the sides met in Cork in September.

The Munster ‘A’ squad, captained by Ronan O’Mahony, included a number of sub-Academy and club players making their first appearances at ‘A’ level, but with the experienced senior and Academy players leading the way the developing players seamlessly stepped up.

Despite trailing 13-5 at the break Munster ‘A’ had the wind behind them for the closing 40 minutes and took full advantage, claiming two tries and keeping the home side at bay to secure a two-point success.

In cold conditions, Connacht Eagles opened with two Miah Nikora penalties before flanker Mata Fifita touched down under the posts for the first try of the game.

Nigel Carolan’s side were good value for their lead, the try seeing youngster Eoghan Masterson show nice hands in offloading for his back row colleague Fifita to score.

With Nikora adding the extras, the Eagles led 13-0 before Munster Academy player Darren Sweetnam claimed an intercept try just before the break – capitalising on some confusion in the hosts’ midfield and finishing off well after kicking through.

Johnny Holland was off target with the conversion and the score stayed at 13-5, but Sweetnam’s timely effort had the visitors right back in it.

With the blustery conditions, Munster ‘A’ kicked for territory in the second half and UL Bohemians hooker Kevin O’Byrne, on his Munster ‘A’ debut, scored off a driving maul to reduce the gap to three points.

The Eagles leaked a second try soon after number 8 Masterson was sin-binned, and the gap between the sides was down to three points.

Munster ‘A’ continued to apply the pressure in the closing quarter and number 8 Shane Buckley scored the winning try for the visitors in the corner, profiting from a neat offload from prop Alan Cotter.

CONNACHT EAGLES: Tiernan O’Halloran; Shane Layden, Rory Parata, David McSharry, Ciaran Gaffney; Miah Nikora, Frank Murphy (capt); Finlay Bealham, James Rael, Peter Reilly, Conor Kindregran, Daniel Qualter, Mata Fifita, Shane Casey, Eoghan Masterson.

Replacements used: Jack Dineen for Rael (15 mins), Saba Meunargia for Reilly (half-time), Caolin Blade for Murphy (50), Brian Murphy for McSharry (55), David Panter for Gaffney (71), Pat O’Toole for Fifita, Josh O’Rourke for Kindregan (both 75), Tadhg Leader for Nikora, Jacob Walshe for Bealham, Steve Macauley for Parata (all 76).

MUNSTER ‘A’: Ronan O’Mahony (capt); Darren Sweetnam, Harry McNulty, Cian Bohane, Luke O’Dea; Johnny Holland, Brian Haugh; Niall Horan, Kevin O’Byrne, Alan Cotter, Ian Nagle, Darren O’Shea, Lee Nicholas, Ryan Murphy, Shane Buckley.

Replacements used: Alex Wootton for O’Dea, Luke Cahill for Nicholas (both half-time), Rory Scannell for McNulty (55 mins), David Johnston for R O’Mahony (63), Jamie Glynn for Haugh, Mike Lynch for Cotter (both 70), Aidan Butler for Murphy, Conor Glynn for Horan (both 72), Ben Burns for O’Byrne (75).

Referee: Andy Brace (IRFU)