Munster A scored the game’s only two tries in recording a deserved 14-9 win over Yorkshire Carnegie at Kinsale RFC tonight. Making the most of a strong wind in the opening half, Mick O’Driscoll’s charges did well in largely containing a second half onslaught from the English Championship outfit.
In a fixture that marked the switching on of Kinsale RFC’s new floodlights at Snugmore, the first chance of the evening came the way of captain Rory Scannell when Carnegie went offside in defence, but in conditions that we’re less than favourable to kickers, the out-half was unable to convert on his first attempt.
Yet it wasn’t long before Scannell had another chance at goal, this time converting Munster’s opening try on 14 mins. Off a penalty Munster kicked into the opposition 22 where they went through the phases from left to right, and back again, before Billy Holland eventually breached the Carnegie defence.
A scrum penalty for the visitors should have reduced the gap to four just minutes later but a bad miss from high profile league convert Kevin Sinfield left Munster off the hook.
A neat pop from Cathal Sheridan for the charging Ronan O’Mahony saw the winger bring Munster back into the Carnegie 22, and with excellent physicality across a number of phases, Shane Buckley was next to cross the whitewash, only to be held up in the tackle.
A subsequent infringement in the five meter scrum allowed Carnegie clear their lines.
Their respite was to be short lived however with O’Driscoll’s men soon using the line out maul to good effect and when Carnegie looked to bring it down, Sheridan was they quickest to react to referee Fergus Kirby’s whistle – the scrum half’s quick tap and go exploiting a lapse in the visitor’s defence for Munster's second try.
With Scannell’s conversion added, Munster led 14-0 after 28 minutes.
Carnegie did get off the mark through the boot of Sinfield after Munster went off their feet, and, gaining some momentum from their opening score, the Championship side played out the final five minutes of the opening half with their most cohesive passage of play up to that point.
It would be to no avail however. Camped deep inside the Munster 22, try as they might they, there was no way through for the visitors as a determined and resolute Munster defence never yielded with the interval looming.
Munster A led 14-3 at the break.
In symbolising the significance of the swirling wind during tonight’s proceedings, having reaped it’s benefits in the opening half, Munster failed to score any points as they played into the wind in the second half. That said, as evidenced by the scoreboard, the visitors failed to exploit the wind advantage quite as well as the men in red.
Scannell’s only kick at goal in the second half – after Carnegie went offside in defence – fell foul of the aforementioned conditions before Munster ill-discipline soon handed momentum back to the travelling side.
Two consecutive penalties, together with the sin-binning of Sean McCarthy, brought Carnegie from their 22 to the Munster 22 where a third penalty allowed Sinfield reduce the deficit to 8 points on 53 minutes.
Ill-discipline continued to dog Munster as they struggled with Carnegie’s increased intensity late in the second half and on 74 minutes the gap was reduced to just 5 points when Munster were pinged for not releasing. A minute later, another penalty gifted Carnegie an attacking platform deep inside the Munster 22.
As expected in the conditions, Carnegie opted for the line out maul at close range. Mario Sagario did succeed in halting its progress, but became Munster’s second player of the night to see yellow in doing so. However, as the visitors went again, a defiant Muster defence remained impenetrable and forced the all-important turnover.
A knock on in midfield followed by a crooked line out feed presented Carnegie with two final attacking opportunities, yet Munster A Head Coach Mick O’Driscoll will be proud in how his largely emerging charges acquitted themselves in holding out to secure a deserved 14-9 win at Kinsale RFC.
Munster A next play Ospreys Premiership Select in Round 3 of the British & Irish Cup at Old Crescent RFC, Limerick on Friday December 11th at 7pm.
Tickets are available to buy online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or at Kinsale RFC from 6.30pm on Friday evening.
Ticket Prices: Adults €;10; Juniors €;3; Family Pack €;20 (2 adults & 2 juniors).
MRSC members and Ten Year ticket holders – free entry on production of season tickets/cards.