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Munster ‘A’ Stand Firm For Deserved Win In Kinsale
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Munster ‘A’ Stand Firm For Deserved Win In Kinsale

Munster ‘A’ Stand Firm For Deserved Win In Kinsale

Munster ‘A’ scored the game’s only two tries as they recorded a deserved 14-9 British & Irish Cup win over a battling Yorkshire Carnegie side at Kinsale RFC tonight.

Making the most of a strong wind in the opening 40 minutes, Mick O'Driscoll's charges then did well to largely contain a second half onslaught from the English Championship outfit with Cian Bohane, Ronan O'Mahony and Billy Holland among the standout players.

In a fixture that marked the switching on of Kinsale RFC's new floodlights at Snugmore, the first chance of the evening came the way of Munster 'A' captain Rory Scannell when Carnegie went offside in defence. However, in conditions that were less than favourable for place-kickers, the out-half was unable to split the posts.

Yet it was not long before Scannell had another shot at goal, this time converting the province's opening try in the 14th minute. Off a penalty, Munster 'A' kicked into the opposition 22 where they went through the phases from left to right, and back again, before second row Holland eventually breached the Carnegie defence.

A scrum penalty for the visitors should have reduced the gap to four points just minutes later, but a bad miss from high profile rugby league convert Kevin Sinfield left Munster 'A' off the hook.

A neat pop from Cathal Sheridan for the charging O'Mahony saw the winger bring Munster 'A' back into the Carnegie 22, and with excellent physicality across a number of phases, Shane Buckley was next to cross the whitewash – only to be held up in the tackle.

A subsequent infringement in the five-metre scrum that followed gave Carnegie the opportunity to clear their lines. Their respite was to be short lived, however, with O'Driscoll's men soon using the lineout maul to good effect.

When Carnegie looked to bring the maul down, Sheridan was the quickest to react to referee Fergus Kirby's whistle. The scrum half's quick tap-and-go exploited a lapse in the visitors' defence for a 28th minute try which Scannell converted.

Carnegie did get off the mark through the boot of Sinfield after Munster 'A' went off their feet. Gaining some momentum from their opening score, the English Championship club played out the final five minutes of the opening half with their most cohesive passage of play up to that point.

Camped deep inside the hosts' 22, try as they might, there was no way through for the visitors as a determined and resolute Munster 'A' defence never yielded with the interval looming. They came off at the break with a 14-3 buffer.

In symbolising the significance of the swirling wind during tonight's round 2 encounter – having reaped its benefits in the opening half – Munster 'A' failed to score any points as they played into the elements during the closing 40 minutes. That said, as evidenced by the scoreboard, Carnegie failed to exploit the wind advantage as well as the men in red had done.

Scannell's only kick at goal after the break, following a Carnegie offside defence, fell foul of the aforementioned conditions before ill-discipline from Munster 'A' soon handed momentum back to the Yorkshire men.

Two consecutive penalties, together with the sin-binning of young lock Sean McCarthy, brought Carnegie from their own 22 to the Munster 22 where a third penalty allowed Sinfield to reduce the deficit in the 53rd minute.

Disciplinary issues continued to dog Munster 'A' as they struggled with Carnegie's increased intensity. With 74 minutes on the clock, the gap was reduced to just five points when the hosts were pinged for not releasing. A minute later, another penalty gifted Carnegie an attacking platform deep inside the province's 22.

As expected in the conditions, Carnegie opted for the lineout maul at close range. Mario Sagario did succeed in halting its progress, but the Uruguayan prop became the second Munster 'A' player of the night to see yellow in doing so. However, as the visitors went again, a defiant defence remained impenetrable and forced the all-important turnover.

A knock-on in midfield followed by a crooked lineout feed presented Carnegie with two final attacking opportunities, yet Munster 'A' head coach O'Driscoll was proud of how his largely emerging team acquitted themselves in holding out to secure their first victory of this season's competition.

O'Driscoll said afterwards: “The game was very scrappy at times but much of that was down to the weather conditions – the wind coming straight down the middle of the pitch was difficult for both sides.

“We had a lot of young guys who got some good game-time here and for some of the guys like Billy Holland coming back from injury, it was good hard rugby which is what we need.

“Yorkshire Carnegie are a side known for their strong scrummaging and maul, and for us to match them on that front tonight was a big positive.”

He added: “Rory Scannell has been mixing it between 10 and 12 and he did a very good job tonight. He put us in the right areas and did well to land our conversions where both the wind and the under-foot conditions were not favourable.”

Referee: Fergus Kirby (England)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

David Johnston; Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Matt D'Arcy, Cian Bohane, Ronan O'Mahony; Rory Scannell (capt), Cathal Sheridan; John Ryan, Kevin O'Byrne, Mario Sagario, Sean McCarthy, Billy Holland, Jordan Coghlan, Sean Doyle, Shane Buckley.

Replacements used: Duncan Williams for Sheridan (57 mins), Conor Oliver for Doyle (64), Darren Sweetnam for D'Arcy (73), Liam O'Connor for Sagario (76). Not used: Ed Rossiter, Sean O'Connor, Bill Johnston.

Away Team

Taylor Prell; David Doherty, Max Wright, Pete Lucock, Dan Tai; Kevin Sinfield, Chris Pilgrim (capt); Charlie Capps, Joe Graham, Ben Hooper, Dean Schofield, Matt Smith, Richard Beck, Jack Barnard, Jarad Williams.

Replacements: Jordan Poole, Lee Imiolek, Callum Sheldon, Dan Preston-Routledge, Chris Walker, Max Green, Sam Allan.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Billy Holland, Cathal Sheridan; Cons: Rory Scannell 2

Away Team

Pens: Kevin Sinfield 3