MUNSTER bounced back from a heavy pre-season loss to Leinster with a 24-19 defeat of Connacht at The Sportsground on Friday evening (September 22).
Despite Munster having the possession and territory from the outset, the province couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard early on.
It was the hosts who got over for the first try when winger Diarmuid Kilgallen scored out wide, with Jack Carty adding the conversion.
Minutes later, a yellow card was issued to John Porch for cynical play in front of the posts after John Ryan made the initial break to move Munster closer to the line. Joey Carbery took the three points on offer.
A Connacht offside allowed Munster kick for the corner and, following a series of pick and goes, Gavin Coombes scored from close range. Carberry added the conversion on the half hour mark.
Munster upped the pace and asked a lot of questions of the Connacht defence as they advanced inside the host’s 22, but a handling error ended the attacking phase before an impressive defensive display on the opposite end closed out the half.
Connacht made a raft of changes and came out of the blocks on the return getting their second try through Paul Boyle to restore their lead. Former Munster man JJ Hanrahan stepped up to add the conversion.
Indiscipline proved costly for the home side when Boyle became the second Connacht player to be binned after a series of infringements while defending their line against Munster’s line out.
Diarmuid Barron got over for the first of two Munster tries during that period when taking the inside pass from Carbery to get over close to the line.
The men in red again went through the phases with a quick ball around the fringes and moved the ball out with the numbers advantage to then send Rory Scannell over on the hour.
Carberry was again flawless off the tee adding both conversions to move Munster ahead by 10 moving into the final quarter.
Connacht responded with their third try taken by Cathal Forde to reduce the gap.
The province closed out the game with another determined defensive display to ensure Graham Rowntree’s side came away from Galway with the victory.