Murray: Ref got controversial Tadhg Beirne call right

By Brendan O'Brien

Conor Murray admits that there was a touch of the theatrical to Tadhg Beirne in Edinburgh last weekend.

But the scrum-half is adamant that, boil the controversial off-the/ball incident involving his Munster teammate and Pierre Schoeman down to brass tacks, and it was more than worthy of the vital penalty it earned.

The Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final in Murrayfied was on a knife-edge with ten minutes to go when the Edinburgh prop directed a shoulder at the passing Beirne who seemed to make the most of the matter as he fell to the turf.

The end result was that a kickable penalty that had just been awarded to the home side was reversed and a 13-10 Edinburgh lead flipped into an advantage for Munster almost immediately when Keith Earls scored what proved to be the crucial try from the resulting possession.

“I didn't see it at the time, I was obviously playing and to get that penalty - (Jaco) van der Walt was going to kick that from 40m. That was going to be a big moment in the game, they'd have gone six points up,” admitted Murray. “So, to have that reversed was great from our point of view. Anyone from any team, if that happened for you you'd be happy for it.

“The first time I saw it was in slow motion and it looks like he went down quite easliy. He did. But real-time, it's a penalty. It's more than an elbow tip. It’s a shoulder. Pierre Schoeman eyes up Tadhg and gives him a shoulder. He's a big man. It's definitely a penalty, by the letter of the law.

“You'd have to ask Tadhg how badly he was hurt, I didn't have interest in asking him. We'd just won the game. I was happy enough with that.

“We're aware there's a bit being made of it. Ex-players have talked about it but maybe if he didn't stay down the ref might not have gone back and had a look at it. But it was a penalty, it was a catch-up defender that you see so often... I'll give you Tadhg's number if you want to ask him how badly he's hurt."

Conor Murrray was speaking as a brand ambassador for PINERGY. Picture: Inpho
Conor Murrray was speaking as a brand ambassador for PINERGY. Picture: Inpho

The reward for Munster is a semi-final meeting with Saracens in Coventry later this month and Murray was thrilled with how the province battled through their last eight clash despite being under the pump for long spells and losing out-half Joey Carberry to injury in the first-half.

“It's good, it's pleasing. The way we previewed them, that was always going to be the case. When we played them in the PRO14 quarter-final last season it was a game like that, the game didn't go anywhere for 60 minutes and eventually there was opportunities and we were able to take them.

"It was a bit looser this time around, we knew it would take a while to get the chances like that and thankfully we did. Earlsy, who is having an unbelievable season again, his quick thinking for the first try and then his sheer speed... it was good play on the inside by Rory and Chris Farrell and Earlsy just to turn on the after-burners to get away and finish well was pleasing.

Obviously, to lose Joey was tough for us but to have Tyler (Blyendaal) come on and everyone will talk about the conversion that made it four points, but he brings a calmness in a situation like that and that calmness affects everyone around him.

Conor Murrray was speaking as a brand ambassador for PINERGY, official energy partner to Munster, who have announced that they will now be supplying all of its customers with electricity from 100% renewable energy sources.

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