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Munster Slip Past Connacht

3rd January 2004 By Munster Rugby

Munster Slip Past Connacht

Ronan O’Gara kicked Munster to a 3-0 victory over Connacht with a second-half penalty, which was the only score of the game as Munster recorded their second away win of this season’s Celtic League.

Ronan O’Gara kicked Munster to a 3-0 victory over Connacht with a second-half penalty, which was the only score of the game as Munster recorded their second away win of this season’s Celtic League.

Ronan O’Gara kicked Munster to a 3-0 victory over Connacht with a second-half penalty, which was the only score of the game as Munster recorded their second away win of this season’s Celtic League. Their first success on their travels since the 15-8 opening-night success at Leinster arrived courtesy of O’Gara’s 67th-minute penalty from just inside the Connacht 22 after the home side were deemed to have gone over the top of the visitors’ ruck. Connacht, under the direction of former Munster and Ireland scrum-half Michael Bradley, controlled much of the possession early on but crucially could not make a dent on a wind-beaten scoreboard. Eric Elwood predictably pummelled the Munster touchlines inside the first quarter, missing the game’s opening chance on 11 minutes with a penalty attempt from the right touchline. The only other chance of the first period fell again to the Galwegians’ veteran whose 35-metre effort faded just to the left of the Munster uprights. The visitors, who leapfrog Connacht in the table thanks to tonight’s victory, could have gone in front in the fourth minute had Mike Mullins’ pass to wing John Kelly not been spotted forward by Irish referee Alain Rolland. Garryowen flanker Paul Neville, who moved away from Munster last season as a result of missing out on a provincial contract, was cruelly taken out of the game after 28 minutes with a rib injury. With O’Gara being given more latitude towards the end of the first half, prop Marcus Horan was just held up in the 36th minute, with giant lock Andrew Farley and hooker Bernard Jackman hauling him down near the Connacht line. The second half began in pouring rain and the brunt of Munster’s forward strength took effect with an Anthony Foley drive into the 22 seemingly giving O’Gara a first sight of the posts. But the Irish international opted for touch and it proved costly as Connacht managed to steal the subsequent set-piece. O’Gara did have a sight of goal four minutes later but his 14-metre effort surprisingly flashed across the face of the posts. His half-back partner Peter Stringer could have been sin-binned nearing the hour mark for reckless use of the boot at a ruck inside Connacht territory. But O’Gara’s effort 13 minutes from time, following another Foley pick-and-drive, gave the visitors the ideal boost ahead of their back-to-back Heineken Cup showdowns with Gloucester.

Final Score: Munster 3 Connacht 0

Scorers:

Munster (3) – Pen: Ronan O’Gara.

Connacht (0)

Munster: Shaun Payne; John Kelly, Mike Mullins, Rob Henderson, Anthony Horgan; Ronan O Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, Gordon McIlwham; Donncha O Callaghan, Paul O Connell, Jim Williams capt, David Wallace, Anthony Foley.

Replacements: James Blaney, Simon Kerr, Stephen Keogh, David Pusey, Eoin Reddan, Jeremy Staunton, Jason Holland.

Connacht: M McHugh; M Mostyn, D Yapp, T Allnutt, C McPhilliips, E Elwood, M Walls; D McFarland, B Jackman, A Clarke, D Browne, A Farley, M Swift, P Neville, J O’Sullivan.

Replacements: J Fogarty, P Bracken, M McCarthy, M Lacey, C O’Loughlin, D Hewitt, T Robinson.

Other Celtic League Results:

Leinster 32-30 Ulster Llanelli Scarlets 28-15 Neath- Swansea Ospreys Borders 15-38 Gwent Dragons

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