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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 17 October, 2018
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Mike Sherry makes try-scoring return but Connacht maul too much for Munster

Marmion puts forward a World Cup case with two tries.

IT WAS A night to be a forward in Thomond Park, as Connacht got the better of Munster by 16 points, under the watchful eye of Irish forwards coach Simon Easterby.

Pat Lam’s side ran in four tries, all of which came from their devastating rolling maul, while Munster even chipped in with one of their own from the maul.

It may just have been a friendly, but it was a dream return to the rugby pitch after 21 months out for Munster’s Mike Sherry, who touched down off the back of a maul for the opening try three minutes in.

Connacht hit back 15 minutes later though, as Kieran Marmion reacted first to a ball popping out, pouncing on it to get over for the equalising try, Jack Carty adding the extras from out on the touchline to then put them ahead.

And there was a familiar feel to Connacht’s second try, as Marmion touched down from another maul, and Carty again kicking to put them 14-5 ahead. The scrum-half will have been pleased with the contribution, given Easterby’s presence in the stand.

Kieran Marmion scores his second try Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

CJ Stander broke the maul trend to touch down under the posts, with Ian Keatley’s conversion reducing the gap to two, before new signing Nepia Fox-Matamua continued Connacht’s dominance with the maul to score his side’s third try just before the break.

Carty’s third conversion left Pat Lam’s side 21-12 ahead at the half-time whistle.

Connacht’s maul will be something to watch once the season starts if this game was anything to go by, and they added a fourth from the tactic on 50 minutes when Munster pulled down the drive to concede a penalty try, Craig Ronaldson putting themselves 28-12 ahead.

Francis Saili Francis Saili played 20 minutes on his Munster debut. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Munster fans did get a first glimpse of new signing Francis Saili however, as he came on for the final 20 minutes to make his Munster debut, while Connacht saw Bundee Aki sin-binned for a no arms tackle, but stood firm to hold Munster scoreless for the period.

The game fizzled out of life as both sides emptied the benches, Connacht holding out to claim a 16 point win.

Munster:

David Johnston; Shane Monahan, Cian Bohane, Matt D’Arcy, Gerhard van den Heever; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer; Sean McCarthy, Dave Foley; Dave O’Callaghan, Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander 

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Shane Buckley, Cathal Sheridan, Bill Johnston, Francis Saili, Niall Scannell, John Madigan, Jordan Coghlan, Stephen Fitzgerald

Connacht:

Darragh Leader, Tiernan O’Halloran, Rory Parata, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; JP Cooney, Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You, Ultan Dillane, Andrew Browne, John Muldoon (captain), Nepia Fox-Matamua, Eoghan Masterson

Replacements: Finlay Bealham, Dave Heffernan, Nathan White, Quinn Roux, Ben Marshall, Eoin McKeon, George Naoupu, John Cooney, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman, Dave McSharry

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Neil Treacy

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