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The Top 8 Last Gasp Munster Victories In European Cup History

The Top 8 Last Gasp Munster Victories In European Cup History
By Conor Neville Updated

Munster's propensity to steal victory at the death is something of cliche at this point - the remarkable parade of last play drop goals, improbable second half rallies, and illogical victories over in-form opposition. But just because it's a cliche at this point doesn't make it any less astonishing.

Here we rank the top eight Munster late, late shows from down the years.

8. Munster 17 - 13 Swansea, 1995

The day it all began.

On a Wednesday afternoon (no floodlights) in a front of a half-full Thomand Park, more preoccupied with nattering about how Garryowen and Shannon had fared the previous weekend, Munster made their first appearance in the Heineken Cup.

Richard Wallace's try put them 7-6 up at half-time, but a try from Swansea's Alan Harris looked set to condemn Munster to a defeat on their European debut.

However, on the 78th minute, out-half Paul Burke popped a pass off to full back Pat Murray who broke a tackle and lunged over the line for the winning try.

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It would be 12 years before Munster lost a European match in Thomand Park.

Read an in-depth feature on Munster's first ever Heineken Cup match here.

7. Castres 24 - 27 Munster, 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tq47dhsfl-0

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It was getting comical at this stage. A week after the Northampton drama, O'Gara slotted yet another injury time drop goal to win the game. Castres lead until Will Chambers try put Munster ahead with 10 minutes left. Castres rustled up three points to level the game as the clock wound down.

However, Munster's reliable forwards once more set the scene and this resulted in ball being tossed back to ROG in the pocket who drove it between the posts.

The Monday after the game, the Limerick City Mayor, Jim Long announced that he wished to put O'Gara's right boot on public display in the city.

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6. Sale Sharks 26 - 27 Munster, 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-bPcnmIGg0

There's an inevitability by now.

Munster trailed 23-7 at half-time, a scoreline which seemed to be a depressing confirmation that here was a team in decline, if not disarray. However, tries from Andrew Conway and Conor Murray pulled Munster back into the game.

We waited patiently for the glorious finale.

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And it came, despite the fact that Ronan O'Gara was now in Paris. Ian Keatley took on the mantle and struck a sweet drop goal between the posts.

That number 10 jersey has truly performed some wonders down the years.

5. Saracens 34 - 35 Munster, 1999

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Back in the days when Munster's away support was restricted to friends and relatives of the players, they trailed the moneyed favourites of Saracens at half-time and looked to be traipsing to yet another European defeat on the road .

However, a stunning start to the second half with tries from Killian Keane and Mike Mullins. Saracens stedied the ship somewhat and looked to be home and hosed, 11 points clear. Not to be.

Anthony Foley tapped and went, and dived in for a try and with three minutes remianing Jeremy Staunton dived over the corner. ROG's conversion slipped the ball between the sticks and they had a famous win.

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4. Munster 31 - 30 Saracens, 2000

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb60jJSVXyc

The return fixture was even more momentous as the victory meant Munster barged their way into the knockout stages. Keith Wood, one a year break from his Premiership duties with Harlequins, bustled his way over the line as in the final moments to reduce Munster's arrears to 30-29.

A youthful, head-bandaged O'Gara, with no international caps under his belt as yet, slotted the heart-stopping conversion, which glanced off the inside of the post and between the sticks.

3. Munster 33 - 6 Gloucester, 2003

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUv75v-G2YM

Not a last gasp victory as such, but in the context of the competition, it effectively was one.

Coming into the last group game, Munster were as good as out. They needed to beat the Premiership table toppers Gloucester by a whopping 27 points, a ludicrously impossible task. Nothing to see here.

Munster played brilliantly well, putting themselves in a position to win the game with tries from John Kelly, Mossie Lawlor and Mick O'Driscoll giving them a commanding 26-6 lead.

With minutes remaining, Mike Mullins and the Munster forwards pummelled the line, then Jeremy Staunton lmost wriggled through the melee. The ball was fed to Stringer, he siphoned the ball out to Kelly who fell over the line. Without quivering, O'Gara nailed the high pressure conversion.

2. Munster 23 - 21 Northampton , 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a9gitvp2Xc

A surreal 40 phase move, in which Munster, on a couple of occasions, looked like losing the ball, ended with Ronan O'Gara spanking a long-distance drop goal which sent Limerick wild with delight.

O'Gara's face afterwards was the picture of euphoria. After about half a minute he tried manfully to gather himself and conceal that euphoria, but couldn't quite.

1. Perpignan  17 - 18 Munster, 2013

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5YXYN22Z0g

Four points down and almost certain to exit the Heineken Cup as the clock ticked into injury time, Munster began their last stand by making two handling errors. It was typical of an edgy, shambolic performance. However they managed to retrieve the ball and recycle it and keep it alive.

Still little looked on until Tommy O'Donnell sidled down the right wing, broke the tackle, somehow stayed in play before offloading to substitute JJ Hanrahan who sidestepped the final tackler, and with a look of joyous disbelief on his face touched down in the corner.

The dismay on the faces of the Perpignan players and management is almost hard to look at, the giddy joy of the Munster players a sight to see.

This try was pulled out of absolutely nowhere.

See also: Balls Remembers - A Profile Of The First Munster Heineken Cup Team In 1995

See also: Balls Remembers - A Profile Of The First Leinster Heineken Cup Team In 1995

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