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Report | Munster A Beat Dragons A in Celtic Cup

September 21, 2018 7:35 pm By The Editor

John Poland in action for Munster A in the Celtic Cup.

John Poland in action for Munster A in the Celtic Cup. Inpho

Peter Malone’s charges made it three wins from three in the Celtic Cup with this evening’s 34-17 bonus point win against Dragons A at Irish Independent Park.

The first half saw tries from captain Fineen Wycherley and Jeremy Loughman, with Ben Healy converting both. While John Poland and Calvin Nash both crossed in the second forty with Healy kicking a conversion and two penalties, and Jake Flannery added the final conversion.

A late change for Munster saw Stephen Fitzgerald drop out of the squad, and the Academy’s Liam Coombes came straight in at full-back.

The visitors made a strong start and opened the scoring with a Jacob Botica penalty from 30 metres in the opening minutes.

While it was a scrappy opening twenty from both sides, scrum-half John Poland showed his attacking threat when making a number of darting breaks.

Poland played his part in the lead up to the opening try after taking the initial pop pass from Alex Wootton, and was on hand again to recycle the ball close to the visitor’s line before captain Fineen Wycherley crashed over for the first score.

Ben Healy, making his first start at this level, added the conversion.

Munster kept the pressure on and a superb individual effort from Jeremy Loughman saw the loose-head prop show impressive footwork and strength to fend off the Dragons defence out wide as he charged over for the second try. Healy’s conversion gave the men in red a 14-3 lead.

However, the Welsh side reduced the gap before the break when centre Calvin Wellington found the space to touch down under the posts for his side’s first try. Botica kicked the simple conversion to leave it 14-10 at half-time.

The defensive efforts from both sides dominated the third quarter before a John Poland try from close-range extended Munster’s lead after 60 minutes.

Healy’s assured kicking from the tee continued and the young out-half added the conversion and followed up with two long-range penalties to make it 27-10 with eight minutes to go. The initial penalty coming after a Dragons high tackle and captain Lennon Greggains was sin-binned on 67 minutes.

Calvin Nash added the crucial fourth try with two minutes to go and Shannon’s Jake Flannery added the well-struck conversion on his Munster A debut.

The visitors had the final say with a try from Greggains with the clock on 80, and with Botica adding the extras it finished 34-17.

Tries: Fineen Wycherley, Jeremy Loughman, John Poland, Calvin Nash

Conversions: Ben Healy (three), Jake Flannery 

Penalties: Ben Healy (two)

Penalty: Jacob Botica

Tries: Calvin Wellington, Lennon Greggains

Conversions: Jaco Botica (two)

Liam Coombes; Alex Wootton, Matt More (Sean French, 66), Alex McHenry, Calvin Nash; Ben Healy (Jake Flannery, 72), John Poland (Charlie O’Doherty, 75); Jeremy Loughman (Cronan Gleeson, 57), Billy Scannell (Eoghan Clarke, 51), Ciaran Parker (Keynan Knox, 68); Fineen Wycherley (Capt), Sean O’Connor; Jack Daly, John Hodnett (Paddy Kelly, 73), Gavin Coombes (Darragh O’Grady, 75).

Carwyn Penny, Will Talbot-Davies, Calvin Wellington, James Benjamin, Deon Smith, Jacob Botica, Dafydd Buckland; Gerard Ellis, Rhys Lawrence, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Huw Taylor, James Thomas, Lennon Greggains (c), Taine Basham

Replacements: Zac Hewlett, Scott Evans, Luke Yendle, Max Williams, Ben Fry, Rhodri Davies, Tom Hoppe, George Gasson.