Keatley: defeating Leinster perfect Heineken Cup prep

Keatley celebrates with Paul O'Connell after the game. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Ian Keatley says beating Leinster was the perfect preparation for next week’s Heineken Cup trip to Edinburgh.

Keatley put in a man of the match performance to beat the Pro 12 Champions 19-15 in Thomond Park last night.

Keatley kicked 14 points, as well as setting up Keith Earls for his try with a tremendous cross field kick when Munster were 6-3 down and his opposite number Ian Madigan was in the sin bin.

The win put Rob Penny’s men second in the Rabo Direct Pro 12, two points behind Glasgow – It also gives the red province the bragging rights over their fierce rivals until March 2014 when they will meet again more likely in the RDS.

“The win was very satisfying - to play against the other provincial teams is great, there is always a really good atmosphere and it also brings great competition playing against other Irish players and to beat Leinster who are considered the number one province at the moment its very satisfying.” Said Keatley.

The win over the reigning Champions for fans and players was even sweeter as it had been a long time coming. Their last win over Leinster came in 2011 in the old Magners League grand final in Thomond Park, under Tony McGahon.

“It’s been a long time coming and we spoke about it before the match and wanted to send the Munster fans home happy which was a good way to get us up for the match.”

Not included in Joe Schmidt’s 43 man panel that gathered in Carton House a few weeks back, Munster’s number 10 got one over on the man who is being tipped to take the Irish number 10 jersey into the future, Ian Madigan.

However as good as Keatley felt about the win, he says Leinster and Madigan will bounce back.

“Ian’s a very good player and he has been playing very well for the last year or two, I’m not sure if I got one over on him but I’m just happy that Munster got the victory, that’s the main thing.”

The next two weeks sees Munster away to Edinburgh and then back in Thomond Park to face Gloucester in the Heineken Cup and with Keatley becoming Munster’s first choice number 10 since Ronan O’Gara’s departure, he’s relishing making his mark in European Rugby.

“Heineken Cup is always the biggest thing for any club so we are looking forward to it.”

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