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Munster Through To Celtic Cup Semi-Final

1st May 2005 By Munster Rugby

Munster Through To Celtic Cup Semi-Final

Tries fron Alan Quinlan, Anthony Horgan and captain Anthony Foley gave Munster a 24-14 win over Edinburgh to set up a semi-final clash with Leinster in Lansdowne Road next Sunday (5.30).

Tries fron Alan Quinlan, Anthony Horgan and captain Anthony Foley gave Munster a 24-14 win over Edinburgh to set up a semi-final clash with Leinster in Lansdowne Road next Sunday (5.30).

Tries fron Alan Quinlan, Anthony Horgan and captain Anthony Foley gave Munster a 24-14 win over Edinburgh to set up a semi-final clash with Leinster in Lansdowne Road next Sunday (5.30).

But if that final scoreline suggests a reasonably comfortable Munster victory it was anything but. In fact the outcome was very much in the melting pot until Foley crashed over for that 85th minute try.

Edinburgh arrived in Thomond Park clearly determined to spoil Alan Gaffney’s going away party and after Munster had started brightly, the Scots scored two tries in the space of 13 minutes mid way through the opening half to take a 14-7 lead into the break.

By then however they were reduced to 14 following the sin-binning of Nathan Hines in injury time of that opening half and while he was cooling his heels Munster struck to redress the balance.

Paul Burke, wide with two efforts in the opening half, landed a penalty in the 43rd minute and he also added the points when Horgan crossed after a good Shaun Payne incision.

Munster might have extended their lead on two ocassions, first when Donncha O’Callaghan just failed to get on the end of a Burke crossfield kick and then after an extraordinary 60 metre rolling maul Munster spread the ball wide but with men to spare, they lost the initiative with some sloppy passing.

Edinburgh, beaten in the final last year, ran ball left and right and threatened to breach the Munster defence on several occasions.

However, Graham Steadman’s (Munster defence coach) influence was seen to good effect and his pupils held their nerve, and just as importantly their line – helped by a superb retreating interception from man of the match John Kelly – in the face of some awesome pressure.

When they lifted the siege they were awarded an injury time penalty five metres out and to the left of the posts. Supporters screamed for Burke to take the tap-over and secure the victory. Foley would have none of it and opted for a scrum.

Twice the scrum was set and twice Edinburgh infringed. On the third scrum-down, Foley took matters into his own hands and burst from the base. It would have required one of the cannon – and a very live one at that – from Edinburgh Castle to stop the man who is the heartbeat of this Munster side.

Munster: S Payne; A Horgan, J Kelly, M Mullins, R Henderson, P Burke, P Stringer (M Prendergast, temp), M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes; P O Connell, D O Callaghan; A Quinlan, D Wallace (D Leamy), A Foley capt.

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