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Munster Suffer British & Irish Cup Defeat

Munster Suffer British & Irish Cup Defeat

Five penalties from Steve Shingler helped Llanelli claim a 15-13 win over Munster in Friday’s British & Irish Cup Pool B opener at the Waterford Regional Sports Centre.

Munster led 10-3 at half-time in a game dominated by referee Dave Walker's whistle. But, in the second half, the hosts fell foul of Steve Shingler's boot and the likes of number 8 Ben Morgan and captain Adam Powell drove Llanelli to victory.

Anthony Foley's men had a last-minute chance to snatch the spoils, but Conor Murray's penalty attempt was ruled wide of the target.

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Munster gave evidence of their intent as early as the third minute when Declan Cusack's break was carried on by Danny Barnes who ended up knocking on in the tackle after making serious in-roads into the Llanelli defence.

Out-half Cusack then created an opportunity for Simon Zebo, but the attack fizzled out.

Soon after, it was the Welsh side's turn to enjoy their period of territorial dominance that ended with a successful penalty from out-half Shingler.

It was a lead that lasted until the 19th minute when Cusack blasted over a long range effort and then converted Sean Henry's try just three minutes later.

Hooker Henry, who threw well on the night, rumbled over after a well-executed drive from a lineout.

Llanelli lost Aaron Shingler to the sin-bin in the 21st minute and referee Walker yellow carded Munster's Peter O'Mahony on the half hour mark. O'Mahony was singled out for coming in at the side of a ruck.

Minutes later, Munster winger Barnes left the pitch with an elbow injury. He was taken to the hospital, as was Llanelli full-back Dan Newton who had earlier injured his ankle.

The rate of penalties dropped slightly as the second half resumed, however Shingler wielded more influence as he landed three place-kicks to one from Cusack.

That set up a tense final quarter, with Munster holding onto a 13-12 lead. Disaster struck for the home side, seven minutes from time, when they lost their captain Dave Foley to the sin-bin. It was a harsh call, as many thought in the small but vocal crowd.

14-man Munster blew a good chance to nab the match-winning try, and Llanelli countered with vigour, gaining a penalty which Shingler popped over for the lead score.

Munster battled on and in the dying seconds, were awarded a penalty 35 metres out from the Llanelli posts.

With Cusack having been replaced, his half-back partner Murray, a regular goal-kicker for Garryowen, took on the responsibility. His strike flashed narrowly wide of the right hand post, leaving Llanelli to celebrate a gutsy win.

Speaking afterwards, Munster coach Foley said: “Unfortunately, we have to travel to Melrose, Nottingham and Bristol, and none of those games will be easy.

“But we will have to pick ourselves up because we can't afford to lose any of our remaining games in the pool.”

Referee: Dave Walker (Scotland)