Munster bloody Leinster's nose but get hit with late, knock-out blows 1 year ago

Munster bloody Leinster's nose but get hit with late, knock-out blows


Munster and their troop of walking wounded and young guns gave Leinster one hell of a rattle, but the hosts ended up winning with some late grit and flair.


Leinster threw several kitchen sinks at Munster in the opening 20 minutes but were wasteful inside the opposition 22, and Graham Rowntree had his charges defending for their lives.

After weathering the blue storm, it was Joey Carbery that put Munster 3-0 up. Leinster got their act together and fashioned an opening that Scott Penny finished off from close range. Keynan Knox was stewing in the sin-bin after a forearm to the head of James Ryan but Carbery's penalty ensured his 10 minutes off the field were not too costly.

Jean Kleyn, who would later go off injured, was the next man in the sin-bin after jumping to try block a Jamie Osborne kick and clocking the winger as he landed. The Blues led at the break, but Munster had reason to hope.

Leinster Jack O'Donoghue of Munster is tackled by Michael Ala'Alatoa of Leinster during the United Rugby Championship match at Aviva Stadium, in Dublin. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

Coombes finds Coombes to rattle Leinster's cage

Munster still had 14 men for the first clutch of second half minutes but Jack O'Donoghue took advantage of Luke McGrath brain-fog, at the breakdown, and his teammates to full advantage.

The Munster scramble defence had been excellent, all night. Leinster could not say the same as Gavin Coombes found cousin Liam Coombes, out wide, and the winger dived over. Carbery nailed his conversion and Munster led 13-7.


Leinster brought on Andrew Porter and Jack Conan, and their rolling maul got going to provide them with another scoring chance.

After putting Munster under the pump, McGrath peeled wide right and left Dan Sheehan with a one-on-one with Conor Murray, who could not prevent the try. Sexton converted that try, from out wide, then added a penalty that saw Leinster lead 17-13 as the game headed into the final quarter.


The game looked to be heading the home side's way, minutes after, as McGrath backed himself off the back of another maul and crashed through Ben Healy and Dave Kilcoyne to get a crucial try.

Battle as they did, until the very end, Munster could not get the score that would tee-up a grandstand finish. The visitors were mixing and matching as best they could, by then, as they had more injury woes.

Most neutrals would have loved a late Munster score but it was Rob Russell and Leinster that got over for a try-scoring bonus point.


Munster bloodied their nose, but Leinster delivered the knock-out blows.