Munster A secured a B&I Cup Semi Final spot after recording their first victory over English Championship side Cornish Pirates and now wait on confirmation of their Semi Final opponents and details.
Match report by Dick Straughan for the Irish Examiner
Cornish Pirates 9 Munster A 10
Munster A overcame a stern test at the hands of English Championship side Cornish Pirates as they seek to retain the trophy they won last season.
It took a try from wing Ronan O’Mahony in the fourth minute of injury to finally kill off a spirited defensive effort from the Pirates, who had two players sin-binned.
The Pirates had started aggressively and took a deserved lead through Aaron Penberthy’s early penalty. Munster responded just before the half-hour mark with the opening try for centre Danny Barnes following a strong break by Dave O’Callaghan, but with the conversion missed the Cornish side regained the initiative.
Two more long distance penalties from Penberthy put them 9-5 up at the interval but the second half was all Munster. With the home lineout misfiring and Penberthy forced off the field through injury Munster were able to turn the screw and their increased intensity in the second half began to tell.
The pack worked well, with flankers O’Callaghan and Niall Ronan particularly impressive and whilst the win took a long time to come it was thoroughly deserved.
Relentless pressure from the off pinned the Pirates back into their own half, with handling errors frustrating Munster in the face of athoroughly committed home defence.
JJ Hanrahan missed a penalty on the hour before a Pirates break saw Corey Hircock put in a try-saving tackle on home wing Matt Evans. Hanrahan then made a complete mess of a four-on-one overlap down the left as time ticked away.
With the Pirates cover at full stretch flanker Barry O’Mahony thought he had finally scored in the 79th minute, only to be called back for a forward pass.
With just 60 seconds left the Pirates finally ran out of luck and Ronan O’Mahony booked Ian Costello’s side a semi-final place as his try silenced the Mennaye Field crowd.
Munster A: S Scanlon (C Bohane 68), C Hircock, D Barnes, S Deasy (J Holland 60), R O’Mahony, JJ Hanrahan, D Williams (G Hurley 65); J Cronin, S Henry Capt. (D Casey 68), J Ryan (A Cotter 79), D Foley, I Nagle (B Hayes 76), Dave O’Callaghan, N Ronan (B O’Mahony 65), CJ Stander.
Cornish Pirates: W Davies, G Pointer (T Kessell 69), T Riley, J Fatialofa (S Hill 41), M Evans, A Penberthy (T Bedford 60), G Cattle (capt); P Andrew, R Elloway (sin bin 44-54, W Tanner 80), P Joyce (Storer 60), D Barry, G Johnson (sin bin 77), K Marriott (Tanner 51-56), P Burgess, L McGlone.
Referee: I. Davies (WRU).