Mighty Munster dispatch Blues at Musgrave Park

Munster 33 Cardiff 16

By Barry Coughlan

As expected. Munster proved too strong for Cardiff Blues as they sealed another Guinness Pro 12 victory at Musgrave Park tonight and jumped to the top of the table, at least temporarily.

They had to fight off the strong challenge from the Blues but a late penalty from JJ Hanrahan, his fourth of the game, pushed the lead out to ten points and made sure there would be no shock.

The icing on the cake was a 79th minute try from Ronan O’Mahony that received a standing ovation from the near 4000 crowd. Hanrahan again kicked the conversion to stretch the lead out to 33-16.

Munster were forced to field without two of their most experienced players when Ian Keatley and Andrew Conway withdrew because of flu.

Coach Anthony Foley pressed Luke O’Dea into service for the first time since May, the utility back having recovered from succession of injuries. Rory Scannell moved from the reserves to replace Keatley and Darren Sweetnam came onto the bench.

It was a lively start with both sides determined to play at pace; however all they had to show for their efforts in the opening half were penalties, three each from JJ Hanrahan and Cardiff number 10 Rhys Patchell.

First blood fell to Munster in the second half when they finally broke the try scoring deadlock. Jack O’Donoghue, Ronan O’Mahony and Hanrahan did the donkey work before Denis Hurley powered his way over and Hanrahan added the extras to make it 16-9.

Munster scored a second try midway through the half with Jack O’Donoghue finishing off a movement that began deep inside their own half and Hanrahan again tacked on the extra points.

They lapsed ten minutes later when flanker Josh Navidi wriggled over and Patchell converted to narrow the gap to seven.

Scorers:

Munster: Tries: D Hurley 1, J O’Donoghue 1, R O’Mahony 1; Penalties: JJ Hanrahan 4; Conversions: JJ Hanrahan 3

Cardiff: Tries: J Navidi 1; Penalties: R Patchell 3; Conversions: Patchell 1

Teams

Munster: JJ Hanrahan; L O’Dea, K Earls, D Hurley (captain), R O'Mahony; R Scannell, D Williams; J Ryan, E Guinazu, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan, B Holland; S Dougall, D O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue.

Replacements: D Kilcoyne for Ryan (47), I Dineen for Earls, P Butler for Dougall (both 64), S Archer for Botha (66), D Sweetnam for O’Dea (67), N Scannell for Guinazu (71), N Croninn for Williamns, S Buckley for Dave O’Callaghan (both 77).

Cardiff Blues: J Tuculet, R Smith, C Allen, G Evans. L Amorosino, R Patchell, L Williams, S Hobbs, M Rees (captain), A Jones, M Cook, F Paulo, J Turnbull, J Navidi, M Vosawai.

Replacements: K Dacey for Rees (30, injured), T Davies for Hobbs (47), T Isaacs for Evans (56), T Filiose for Jones (55), T Knoyle for Williams (57), E Jenkins for Vosawai

Referee. L Linton (Scotland)


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