Murphy Injured As Munster Lose Top Spot.
4th March 2006 By Munster Rugby
Munster lost their place at the top of the Celtic League table when they went down 27-3 to Ulster at a packed and bitterly cold Ravenhill on Friday evening.
Munster lost their place at the top of the Celtic League table when they went down 27-3 to Ulster at a packed and bitterly cold Ravenhill on Friday evening. Munster are now two points behind the Ulster men who must fancy their chances of lifting the title.
A more significant loss to Munster than the points however, was that of their outside centre Barry Murphy, who was stretchered off in the 25th minute with a dislocated ankle. It subsequently transpired that Murphy had fractured a tibia. He was discharged from the Royal Victoria Hospital and travelled back with the squad but he is likely to miss the rest of the season.
Five tries to nil is a fair indicator of the merit of Ulster s victory but when referee Alain Rolland looks back on the video of the game he might consider that he might dwell on his decision to award Ulster s first and final tries. In the first instance Shaun Payne was shunted off the dropping ball and Neil McMillen must have been about four miles offside for the final score. Then again Jonnny Bell looked to have scored a legitimate second half try only for Rolland to rule it out.
All that aside Rolland also got it wrong when he yellow-carded Payne in the 63rd minute Ulster were deserving winners. Aside from Andrew Trimble they fielded a full strength side and with Justin Harrison supreme out of touch and David Humphreys and Paul Steinmetz sparkling in midfield, they dominated for long periods after a bright start by Munster.
Paul Burke, passed fit only after the pre-match warm-up gave Munster the lead with a 13th minute penalty but four minutes later Tommy Bowe crashed into Payne and then got the touch down for his side s first try.
Brave defence kept the Munster line intact until the 39th minute before Roger Wilson scored a second try by which stage Ian Dowling was clearly in trouble having taken an earlier knock. Dowling only lasted a few minutes of a second half that saw Munster with Anthony Foley,Stephen Keogh, Federico Pucciariello and Denis Fogarty to the fore – deliver a performance of honest endeavour but in the end they just weren t able to match the cohesion of the home side.