Celtic Cup Glory
14th May 2005 By Munster Rugby
Munster end the season with Celtic Cup glory, defeating Llanelli Scarlets 27-16 in Lansdowne Road. Ronan O Gara made a welcome return to the side picked up 17 of Munster’s 27 points.
Munster 27 Llanelli Scarlets 16
In what was Alan Gaffney s last game at the helm, Munster ended their season on a high with a superb victory over Llanelli Scarlets in the final of the Celtic Cup at Lansdowne Road. Leading 20-10 at half time after a controlled first half performance, it took determined defending to hold off the sustained attacks of Llanelli in the second half. Ronan O Gara made a welcome return to the side after a long absence due to injury and picked up 17 of Munster s 27 points, including a try in the 19th minute.
Anthony Horgan opened the scoring with a try in the 5th minute, with O Gara adding the conversion. Llanelli s Ceiron Thomas put their first points on the board after an 11th minute penalty. O Gara was next to score, crossing the line and adding the conversion to stretch their lead to 14-3 with 20 minutes played. Llanelli s scrum half Mike Philips scored a try in the 29th minute after a patient build up, with Thomas converting. Munster edged further ahead with 6 points added by Ronan O Gara before half time- slotting over a penalty after 34 minutes and landing a drop goal after 38 minutes to give them a 20-10 lead at the break.
After the restart, Llanelli reduced the deficit with Thomas adding another penalty in the opening minutes. It was a signal of intent from Llanelli as Munster coped with sustained pressure from the Welsh side for much of the second half. Llanelli came within four points of Munster when Thomas kicked a penalty in the 58th minute. Despite a penalty attempt from O Gara hitting the posts three minutes later, Munster never looked like being caught, with the win rubber stamped by a 74th minute try under the posts from Mike Mullins, after breaking through a double tackle. O Gara converted to complete the scoring, with Munster having a convincing 27-16 victory.