An impressive Munster team secure a rare win at Stradey Park against Llanelli. A magnificent kicking performance by Ronan O'Gara and a late try by Mossie Lawolor gives Munster a great boost as they begin a new season.
Tonights match-up was a battle of the boots at Stradey Park in Llanelli, as Ronan O'Gara & Stephen Jones proved that they are indeed world class out-halves. Three penalties from Ronan in the first half and two from Stephen saw a nail biting first half end at 9 points to 6 in Munsters favour. Ronan was not only strong in his place kicking, his out of hand play was also a joy to watch, and I am sure that he has without a doubt secured his position at No.10 for Ireland when they meet Romania next Saturday in Thomond Park.
It was an extremely closely contested game between these mighty sides. The Llanelli backs looked very strong and made Munster work for the ball throughout the game. Scott Quinell as always made his presence felt on the pitch and Llanelli newcomer Mattew J Watkins once again looked very promising.
The second half again was dominated by Ronan's kicking but also by tremendous line-out play by Mick O'Driscoll and Donnacha O'Callaghan. Two more penalties by O'Gara widened the gap between the teams with Munster leading 15-6. Dominic Crotty was replaced by Jeremy Staunton in the 57th minute. The 65th minute saw the Llanelli supporters booing poor Mike Mullins as he headed for the Sin Bin after a high tackle. Stephen Jones then missed a crucial and out of character penalty. But with Munster down to 14 men Llanelli upped the pace and put severe pressure on the Munster line, It was not long before the Munster defence broke down as Mark Jones touched down for a fine try. Stephen Jones converted from the sideline to leave the score at 15-13.
As Llanelli continued to put pressure on Munster it looked as if it was going to end in their favour, but Marcus, Ronan & Mossie had different ideas. In the 79th minute a great tackle by Marcus Horan released the ball to Ronan O'Gara, and with a beautiful cross field kick towards Mossie Lawlor saw the youngster touch down to secure the Munster Win!.
(Dominic Crotty - Replaced by Jeremy Staunton), (John Kelly), (Mike Mullins), (Rob Henderson), (Mossie Lawlor), (Ronan O'Gara), (Peter Stringer), (Marcus Horan), (James Blaney), (John Hayes), (Donnacha O'Callaghan), (Mick O'Driscoll), (Eddie Halvey - Replaced by Colm McMahon), (Alan Quinlan), (Anthony Foley) (Capt.).
Replacements - (John Fogarty), (Simon Kerr), (Mick Galwey), (Dominic Malone), (Jason Holland).
(Garan Evans), (Mark Jones), (Matthew J Watkins), (Matt Cardey), (Salesi Finau), (Stephen Jones), (Guy Easterby), (Scott Quinnell), (Ian Boobyer), (Simon Easterby), (Paul Clapham), (Vernon Cooper) (Capt), (Martyn Madden), (Robin McBryde), (Iestyn Thomas)
Replacements - (John Davies), (Marcus Thomas), (Bryn Griffiths), (Dafydd Jones), (Dwayne Peel), (Gareth Bowen), (Barry Davies).
Ronan O'Gara (5 penalties), Mossie Lawlor (Try), Stephen Jones (2 pen, 1 conv), Mark Jones (Try).
Munster 20 - Llanelli 13
Go Munster - Stand Up and Fight!.