Two first-half tries from Mike Sherry helped Munster A to a 27-0 win over Ospreys Premiership Select at Irish Independent Park on Friday night with Gavin Coombes scoring a third try after the break as out-half Bill Johnston 100% off the tee with three conversions and two penalties.
The win sees current holders Munster A progress into the last eight of the competition as either group winners or one of the best runners up, depending on how Bedford Blues fare against Nottingham in the pool’s final game tomorrow at 2pm.
A win for Bedford will see Munster A drop down to second place and an away quarter-final.
The game saw Ronan O’Mahony, Dave O’Callaghan and Dan Goggin all make a welcome return to action from long-term injuries.
Peter Malone’s side led Ospreys 20-0 at the interval and despite dominating proceedings, were unable to clinch the four-try bonus point their performance deserved.
After a quiet opening quarter, Munster A hit the front on 18 minutes as Mike Sherry raced clear down the blindside of a lineout maul to score in the left corner.
The score came after a number of lineouts in quick successions with Gerbrandt Grobler dominating in the air.
Johnston added the extras before Stephen Fitzgerald did superbly to prevent an Ospreys try after a dangerous move as the winger raced back to touch the ball down just before the visitors reached the loose ball.
Johnston increased the lead to 13-0 by the half-hour thanks to two penalties before Sherry did superbly to barge over from close range four minutes before the break for his second try. Johnston was again on target to give Munster a comfortable half-time cushion.
The only score of the second half saw Gavin Coombes cross for Munster’s third try with Johnston again on target with the conversion as Munster A emerged with a convincing win to round off a pool campaign that saw Malone’s side win five of their six games.
Munster A: Ronan O’Mahony; Calvin Nash, Shane Daly, Dave Johnston (C) (Dan Goggin, 48), Stephen Fitzgerald; Bill Johnston (Conor Fitzgerald, 60), James Hart (John Poland, 57); Jeremy Loughman (Ciaran Parker, 67) Mike Sherry (Duncan Casey, 57), Brian Scott (inj Jeremy Loughman, 75); Fineen Wycherley, Gerbrandt Grobler (Sean McCarthy, 67); Sean O’Connor (Dave O’Callaghan, 48), Conor Oliver, Gavin Coombes.