SPORTS ROUND-UP: Munster miss out on chance of rare Leinster win

Graham Rowntree blamed the concession of two soft second half tries for Munster's narrow defeat.

THE CONCESSION of a couple of easy second-half tries left Munster to rue a rare chance to topple Leinster in last night’s brilliant URC derby at a sold-out Thomond Park. 

Graham Rowntree’s side held a 14-6 (a Gavin Coombes try the obvious highlight) lead early in the closing period but their opponents through Scott Penny and Dan Sheehan thereafter crossed the line for a dramatic 20-19 victory.

“Without having a load of territory in that first half we were ahead, and then in the third quarter, we worked hard for a penalty try, they had a guy (Max Deegan) in the bin and we concede two soft tries. We can’t do that, we just can’t do that,” the Munster coach stated in the media room afterwards. 

“We lost our way towards the end of our way there against a good team, whoever they seem to put on the field. There’s a lot of familiar faces in that Leinster, team, whoever they field, they’re a class team.

“The most disappointing thing for me was how we dealt with that time after the penalty try, conceding two soft tries.”

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Both of those scores were off the back of tap-and-go penalty moves from five metres out.

He added: “There are lots of positives, but when you lose a game like that you focus on the negatives. We’ll review it again as coaches, and move forward in six days in Belfast (versus Ulster, New Year’s Day).”

Horse Racing:

It’s Day Two of the Christmas Racing Festival at Greenmount Park. 

The local highlight, in front of a packed grandstand, yesterday was in the Mares Handicap Hurdle where Eoin McCarthy of Athea saddled 6/1 shot Missie to win, with Gary Noonan from Newcastle West in the saddle. The winner owner was jovial Galwegian John Costello. 

The feature event today is the Doran’s Pride Grade 2 Novice Hurdle.