In a tense and exciting game at Rosbrien, Munster U.21 s had to pull out all the stops in the closing stages to fend off a determined Leinster side. With Munster leading 21-19 in the dying minutes, Leinster threw everything at the home side, stretching the Munster defence to the limit before Munster claimed a thrilling victory in front of an appreciative crowd.
It was a fine display of rugby from both sides, who were well matched and fought a close battle throughout the game. A 17th minute try from full back Ian Hanley, converted by Garryowen outhalf Conan Doyle gave Munster an early lead. Leinster came back with two penalties in quick succession, with outhalf Jonathon Sexton successful at 22 and 25 minutes, to bring Leinster within a point of Munster. Dolphin winger Ed Mills grabbed an opportunistic try just before half time, when a Sexton penalty hit the posts, only for Mills to charge down what was intended to be a clearing kick and nip over the line. Doyle added the conversion, to give Munster a 14-6 lead at half time.
The fast pace of the game never relented, and Munster kicked off the second half with a period of intense pressure on Leinster, keeping play deep inside the Leinster half. However, it was Leinster who was to score next, with Sexton adding a penalty after 55 minutes. Sexton added another three points at 70 minutes, to reduce the deficit to 14-12. With ten minutes to go, both sides upped the ante. Replacement flanker Barry O Mahoney was brought on, only to score a try within seconds of his arrival onto the field. With Doyle s conversion added, Munster pulled away once more, with a 21-12 score line with just minutes to go. Not content to give Munster the victory, Leinster made a number of outstanding breaks, stretching the Munster defence all over the field. Leinster centre Conor Donohoe cut through the Munster line and touched down for a try, bringing Leinster within a score of Munster after Sexton s conversion. Right up to the final whistle, Leinster continued to threaten, and only a number of try saving tackles prevented Leinster from snatching the victory.
For Munster, there were heroes all over the pitch, with an incredible willpower and team spirit prevailing throughout the game. Munster fullback Ian Hanley had an outstanding game, as did out half Conan Doyle. In the pack, captain Billy Holland led by example, with David Sherry and Darragh Hurley also having a huge influence. Replacements Ross Noonan and Barry O Mahoney also made a significant impact to the game. With three wins out of three under their belt, Munster can look forward to the play offs in Buccaneers RFC next Saturday with a degree of confidence.
15. Ian Hanley (UL Bohemian), 14. Eric Moloney (UCC), 13. Tom Gleeson (UCC), 12. Evan Ryan (UCC), 11. Ed Mills (Dolphin), 10. Conan Doyle (Garryowen), 9. Duncan Williams (UCC), 1. Darragh Hurley (UCC), 2. Batt Duggan (UCC), 3. Dave Ryan (Highfield), 4. Mike O Hea (Clonakilty), 5. Chris Kenefick (UCC), 6. Billy Holland (UCC) (Captain), 7. Michael Essex (UCC), 8. David Sherry (Garryowen)
Ross Noonan (UCC) for Mike O Hea, Barry O Mahoney (Crescent College Comprehensive) for Michael Essex, Cathal Parkes for Batt Young.
Coach: Geoff Moylan.
Assistant Coaches: David O Mahony, Paul Cunningham
Manager: Donal Brennan
Technical Advisor: Ian Costello
Physiotherapist: John Casey
Fitness Advisors: Colin Buckley and Ray Egan
Kit Man: Martin Joyce
15. Fionn Carr (Blackrock College), 14. Kevin Barden (Old Belvedere), 13. Fergus Mc Fadden (U.C.D.), 12. Conor Donohoe (Dublin University, 11. Shane Hanratty (Dublin University), 10. Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary s College), 9. Derry Coughlan (Lansdowne), 1. Killian O'Neill ( Dublin University), 2. Gavin O'Meara (Lansdowne), 3. Paul Doran Jones (Dublin University), 4. Darren O'Reilly (Dublin University), 5. Devon Toner (Lansdowne), 6. Luke Mantle (Greystones), 7. Diarmuid Laffan (Dublin University) (Captain), 8. Sean O Brien (U.C.D.)
Matthew D Arcy (Dublin University) for Derry Coughlan, Kieran Moloney (Blackrock College) for Gavin O Meara, Cian Culleton (Dublin University) for Killian O Neill, Cian O Sullivan (Greystones) for Kevin Barden
Coach Greg Lynch
Assistant Coach: David Lynagh
Manager: Philip Orr
Physiotherapist: James Allen
Doctor: Dr. Paul O Neill
Referee: Peter Ferguson (USR)
Touch Judge 1: D. Moloney (MAR)
Touch Judge 2: D. Kelly (MAR)