Rugby

Connacht Hold On In Tense And Scrappy Derby With Munster

Connacht Hold On In Tense And Scrappy Derby With Munster

It was a feisty battle this evening in the Sportsground, giving referee Chris Busby a serious challenge of keeping the discipline of both sides in check.

Tensions boiled over at the end of the first half when Connacht hooker Shane Delahunt pushed Chris Farrell when the two teams were making their way to the dressing rooms.

Ben Healy rushed to his teammates defence before members of both sides became embroiled in a side line tussle.

To put the rather strange encounter to bed, Busby handed out a yellow card each to Delahunt and Healy when the sides came back onto the pitch for the beginning of the second half.

In total there were four yellow cards handed out. Connacht’s Oisín Dowling received one after persistent Connacht infringements, and Munster’s Chris Farrell was given one after a high-tackle in the second half. The Munster centre was fortunate not to be given a red after clashing heads with Tom Farrell

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The game looked set to be a showdown of the outhalves, with the in form Ben Healy and Jack Carty both eyeing the role of Jonny Sexton’s backup with the Six Nations just two months away.

Unfortunately Carty was forced off with an injury at the end of the first half, but Healy was able to show off his potential with some big first half plays.

The no. 10 set up Munster’s only try of the match after he bombed a kick deep into Connacht’s half. He chased hard and subsequently charged down Mack Hansen’s clearance attempt which lead to Andrew Conway dotting the ball down.

Munster were comfortably the better team in the first half and they went into the break with an 8-3 lead. With Connacht showing very little in terms of creativity and penetration it looked likely that the men from the South would pull away in the second half.

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It was not to be however, and in a reversal of roles Connacht were able to dominate territory in the second 40 and were rewarded with a try from Bundee Aki in the 57th minute, after an impressive driving maul.

Carty’s replacement Conor Fitzgerald gave his team the lead by nailing a superb touchline conversion.

Connacht continued to apply pressure and denied Munster any chance at a comeback, as they saw out a tense 10-8 home win.

Home fans may have been disappointed with the lack of attacking flair they have become accustomed to, but to see their team grind out a gritty win was arguably more important for Connacht’s development and their aims for the year.

With the news of Ultan Dillane’s departure next season, the performances of Connacht’s young forwards will have been particularly pleasing for coach Andy Friend.

Lock Oisín Dowling produced a couple of crucial first half turners, and flanker Cian Prendergast continued his fast rise with another all action man of the match performance.

See Also: Quiz: Test Your Knowledge In Our Big Rugby Quiz Of 2021

Quiz: Test Your Knowledge In Our Big Rugby Quiz Of 2021

Colman Stanley

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