24 May, 10:30
This week's Club Notes come from Cashel and Shannon Rugby Clubs.
Munster dominated the opening quarter but were lucky not to be behind after a minute when Connacht’s centre Niall Kenneally was off target with a penalty.
A great break by Munster winger Lucas Kuntz nearly produced a try for Munster but this move resulted in a penalty which JJ Hanrahan converted after five minutes.
Kuntz was posing serious problems for the visitors defence and another break saw him being stopped short of the try line.
The greasy ball was not helping either side but Munster’s dominance in the line out by Cathal O’Flaherty, Dave O’Mahony and Simon Hanbridge was setting a platform for the home side. Hanrahan came close to opening Munster’s try account but knocked on over the line.
After a great break by O’Flaherty which Munster’s other winger Cathal Quinn came close to finishing, Munster’s pressure paid off with a second penalty from Hanrahan after seventeen minutes.
Another move started by number 8 Luke Cahill involving Corey Hircock and Quinn was halted just short of the Connacht try line.
Munster’s pressure was eventually rewarded on the half hour mark. Another break by O’Flaherty from inside his own twenty two, saw him run into the Connacht half before being tackled. Quinn was up in support and hacked the ball on and was impeded when going to touch down, resulting in Kevin Beggs awarding a penalty try which Hanrahan converted for a 13-0 lead.
Pat Finn then made a break from his own half and went through several would be Munster tackles before being halted near the Munster line. From the line out Rory Cunningham found a gap to touch down.
Munster went 16-5 ahead with a third penalty from Hanrahan on forty minutes. However Munster were found wanting from the restart when Connacht’s full back Shane Layden waltzed through the home defence and from a resulting ruck Cunningham barged over for a second Connacht try and Kenneally converted.
Despite playing into the lashing rain Connacht dominated the opening period of the second half but Munster tightened their defence and withstood the challenge.
Munster eventually raised their game and a penalty from Gareth Quinn McDonogh on sixty two minutes extended their lead.
This saw the Munster pack move up a gear and three minutes later they were rewarded with a try from Kuntz.
Munster then played out time and with out half Johnny Holland having an excellent game they kept Connacht pinned back and will now look forward to next week’s encounter in Donnybrook, following Leinster’s 18-15 win over Ulster.
Scorers:Munster:Lucas Kuntz try, Penalty Try, JJ Hanrahan 3 pens, con, Gareth Quinn McDonogh pen.
Connacht:Rory Cunningham 2 tries, Niall Kenneally con.
Munster:Gareth Quinn McDonagh (Shannon);Lucas Kuntz (Garryowen);Corey Hircock(Garryowen);JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians),Cathal Quinn (CBC);Johnny Holland (UCC),Ronan Barry (UCC);Paul Mullen (Kings Hospital),Niall Scannell(Dolphin),John Randles (Crescent College);Cathal O’Flaherty(PBC),Dave O’Mahony (PBC);Shane Buckley Capt,(Rockwell College);Simon Hanbridge (Cork Constitution),Luke Cahill (Rockwell College),Ronan Barry(UCC).
Replacements: Daniel Horgan(PBC) for JJ Hanrahan, Tom Goggin(UL Bohemian) for Shane Buckley both HT, Kevin O’Byrne(UCC) for Niall Scannell 52 mins, Robert O’Herlihy(PBC) for Dave O’Mahony 72, Jack Costigan(PBC) for Lucas Kuntz 79.
Connacht:Shane Layden(Roscrea);David Butler(Creggs),Pat Finn(Buccaneers),Niall Kenneally(UL Bohemians),Conor Finn(Roscrea);Pat Hughes(Sligo),Mark Dolan Capt,(Corinthians);Aaron Spring (Sligo),Tadhg Power(UL Bohemians),Ger Fahy(Galwegians);Brian Moylett(Roscrea),Danny Qualter (Buccaneers);David Heffernan (Lansdowne),Aaron Conneely(Corinthians),Rory Cunningham (Galwegians).
Replacements:Diarmuid Higgins(Ballinasloe) for Ger Fahy HT, Calum Boland (Buccaneers) for Pat Finn 52, Tadgh Leader (Galwegians) for Niall Kenneally, Jack Carty(Buccaneers) for Pat Hughes both 67.