Joey Carbery put through the wringer before winning it for Munster 1 month ago

Joey Carbery put through the wringer before winning it for Munster

MUNSTER 20-18 CONNACHT

Joey Carbery proved the matchwinner for Munster, and boy did he need that shot at redemption.

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The Munster outhalf had endured a tough outing against Connacht but Johann van Graan, his coach, backed him by leaving him out there. The South African's faith was rewarded after a late Diarmuid Barron try.

Connacht went 6-0 ahead after 20 minutes thanks to a couple of Jack Carty penalties. The entire match was hotly contested, and both captains - Peter O'Mahony and Carty - were warned to keep their players in line by referee Chris Busby.

Sam Arnold was yellow-carded for a high challenge on Mike Haley and Connacht were down to 14 men. Just as it looked as though Connacht had weathered the storm, a Rory Scannell cross-field kick found Tadhg Beirne on the wing. His two touches teed up Chris Cloete for a try, but Connachr fans were irate that the officials did not check replays as Beirne may have been ahead of the kick:

That score was converted by Joey Carbery and Munster led 7-6 at the break. It was 10-6 when Carbery's penalty, on 49 minutes, added to the lead.

Both coaches freshened up their sides but Connacht struggled to replicate the pace and intensity they had displayed in the first half. The westerners were still in touching distance, though, and they went ahead, on 53 minutes, when Paul Boyle took flight after a tap-and-go penalty from five metres out.

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Crucially, Carty missed the conversion and that was punished when Carbery put Munster 13-11 in front with a penalty. The Munster No.10 was having an iffy night, but he did step up with a turnover with 15 minutes to go. Having missed four of his seven tackle attempts, that was a big moment for the Ireland international.

Munster were sloppy throughout, and Connacht were never put to bed. A Munster scrum inside their own 22 should have seen them exit cleanly but Carbery dithered over his kick and Carty was there to block it down, snatch the ball up and score under the posts:

Carty converted and Connacht were 18-13 up with 10 minutes to go. Having only won once in their opening three games, the westerners would have been desperate to get the victory, but Munster had other ideas.

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Turning down kicks at the posts, Munster tapped and went on a few penalties and surged closer to the Connacht line. A smart Jack O'Donoghue pass to Diarmuid Barron gave the prop a slight opening in which to score. He crashed over for a levelling score.

It was left to Carbery to be the hero and, on a slippery night in Limerick, he made no mistake with the conversion.

Our Man of the Match: Bundee Aki (Connacht)


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