Celtic League – Munster Take The Bonus in Galway
1st October 2005 By Munster Rugby
Munster scored a five try 44-19 victory over Connacht that included a brace of tries for new signing Gary Connolly and a first try for Federico Pucciarello, in Galway Sportsground on Saturday
Munster took full points from this encounter with Connacht at The Sportsground in Galway with four second half converted tries to add to the 13 points they notched up in the opening half.
Ronan O’Gara’s seven from seven kicks record included two superb first half penalties and a conversion of Gary Connolly’s try, all into the teeth of a strong wind and in the second half O’Gara continued in the same vein.
He was on the mark with conversions of tries from Frank Sheahan, Marcus Horan and Connolly’s second and, just for good measure drove over a penalty from the half way line.
He also pinned Connacht back on countless occasions with delightful touch finds to snuff out any chance of a Connacht revival.
The home side took the lead with a 2nd minute David Slemen try before Connolly dipped in for the first of his two tries. Further penalties from Slemen and then his replacement Paul Warwick left Connacht trailing 13-12 at the break.
The game was put beyond their reach when Munster scored two tries in the space of five minutes immediately after the restart, Sheahan crashing over first from close in and then Horan showing a clean pair of heels when he picked up a loose ball on the wing forty metres from the Connacht line.
Connolly scored a second before Conor McPhillips scored a consolation for the westerners and replacement Federico Pucciarello ended a period of Munster pressure with a score in injury time.
Munster: Barry Murphy; John Kelly, Gary Connolly (R Henderson),Trevor Halstead, Ian Dowling (T O’Leary); Ronan O’Gara (P Burke), Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan (J Flannery), John Hayes (F Pucciarello); Donncha O’Callaghan (T Hogan); Mick O’Driscoll Stephen Keogh, Denis Leamy (J O’Connor), Anthony Foley capt.
Connacht: Matt Mostyn, Conor McPhillips, Darren Yapp, James Downey, Keith Matthews, Paul Warwick, Tom Tierney; Dan McFarland, John Fogarty, Stephen Knoop, Christian Short, Andrew Farley (c), John Muldoon, Matt Lacey, Colm Rigney.
Referee – D Keane.