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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 21 October, 2018
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Good evening, and welcome to live coverage of Munster v Connacht at Thomond Park in today’s second inter-pro.

Johan van Graan’s home side are seeking to stem the flow following defeats to Leinster and Ulster over Christmas, while the visitors – who ran a rampant Leinster close last time out – will be looking to repeat their feat from the corresponding fixture at the Sportsground in October.

We’ll be back with team news shortly, and will provide live updates from kick-off at 7:45pm.

Here are your teams for this evening’s encounter.

Munster:

15. Simon Zebo
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Rory Scannell
11. Keith Earls
10. Ian Keatley
9. Conor Murray

1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Rhys Marshall
3. John Ryan
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Darren O’Shea
6. Jack O’Donoghue
7. Conor Oliver
8. CJ Stander (Capt).

Replacements:

16. Mike Sherry
17. James Cronin
18. Stephen Archer
19. Robin Copeland
20. Peter O’Mahony
21. Duncan Williams
22. Bill Johnston
23. Darren Sweetnam

Connacht:

15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Niyi Adeolokun
13. Eoin Griffin
12. Pita Ahki
11. Matt Healy
10. Jack Carty
9. Caolin Blade:

1. Peter McCabe
2. Tom McCartney
3. Conor Carey
4. Quinn Roux
5. James Cannon
6. Cillian Gallagher
7. Jarrad Butler
8. John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements:

16. Shane Delahunt
17. Conan O’Donnell
18. Finlay Bealham
19. Gavin Thornbury
20. Paul Boyle
21. James Mitchell
22. Craig Ronaldson
23. Darragh Leader

A couple of youngfellas to watch today: Prop Peter McCabe starts for Connacht against his former side after a couple of impressive cameos for the visitors recently. Highly-rated 20-year-old fly-half Bill Johnston takes a spot on the bench for Munster.

1 – Munster 0-0 Connacht: And we’re underway at Thomond! Conor Murray clears from just outside Munster’s 22. Adeolokun makes a nice burst up the right-hand flank before Munster are pinged on the ground inside their 10m line. Jack Carty points to the posts.

2 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: Carty sinks it with a fine swing of his right boot, and the visitors take the lead.

4 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: Connacht have a scrum just outside their 22 after a knock-on at the restart. They win a penalty with a huge shove, as former Munsterman Peter McCabe and his partner-in-crime Conor Carey buckle John Ryan and Dave Kilcoynce. Carty drives them down the field.

6 – Munster 0-0 Connacht: An impressive Connacht start is curbed by a searching Matt Healy kick which trickles the wrong side of the Munster line. Scrum back.

8 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: CJ Stander makes a break from deep in Munster territory before putting boot to ball. Connacht regather in their 22 but Munster come straight back at them from the clearance.

8 – Munster 0-0 Connacht: Lovely work by Zebo and Conway in the Connacht 22 almost sends Murray over, but Munster are pinged for holding on just five yards short. Lose a further 10 yards for protesting.

10 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: Rory Scannell concedes a penalty near halfway for a deliberate knock-on having attempted an intercept. Carty puts Connacht back into Munster’s 22.

11 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: Big moment for the home side as they earn the scrum from the resulting maul, with the ball carrier having gone to ground.

12 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: By Jaysus, this is tough going. Breathless start to the game.

13 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: Big clearance from Murray takes the pressure off and moves play up to Munster’s 10-metre line. From the lineout, Munster – again – win a scrum from the ensuing maul. Super work by O’Donoghue and Kleyn.

15 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: Penalty Munster from the scrum. Scannell moves them to halfway between Connacht’s 10m line and 22.

16 – Munster 0-3 Connacht: Munster go nowhere after several phases until Zebo chips nicely in behind. Adeolokun is bundled into touch deep in Connacht territory.

20 – TRYYYYY MUNSTER! Munster 5-3 Connacht: Munster build about 15 yards from the Connacht line before Farrell storms towards the five after a beautiful pass by Keatley. Darren O’Shea bundles over from the resulting phase to give the hosts the lead.

Conor Oliver celebrates with Darren O'Shea after he scored his sides opening try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

21 – Munster 7-3 Connacht: Conversion from Keatley is good.

22 – Munster 7-3 Connacht: Connacht penalty behind halfway after a high tackle by Rory Scannell on Tom McCartney. Carty pushes the westerners up to the Munster 22.

24 – Munster 7-3 Connacht: Farrell drives Carty backwards as Connacht attempt to go wide, but the centre is penalised for going off his feet from the resulting ruck. Carty points to the sticks from some 35 yards.

24 – Munster 7-6 Connacht: Carty knocks it over to bring his side back within a point.

25 – Munster 7-6 Connacht: From the restart, Munster win a penalty. Keatley prods the home side to within 12 yards of the tryline.

27 – Munster 7-6 Connacht: Kilcoyne knocks on as Munster attempt to bludgeon the Connacht reaguard. Scrum for the men in green halfway inside their own 22.

28 – Munster 7-6 Connacht: Connacht scrum again marches Munster backwards some 10 yards before they win a penalty from referee David Wilkinson. Carty kicks them just shy of halfway.

30 – Munster 7-6 Connacht: Disastrous lineout misses Roux and lands in John Ryan’s bread basket. He sets Rhys Marshall away before Connacht are pinged on the ground just outside the 22. Stop in play as Jack Carty receives treatment. His opposite number awaits a kick at goal.

30 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Keatley splits the posts.

31 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Connacht moving ball around Munster 10m line. They go nowhere fast and eventually James Cannon spills it. Munster scrum.

32 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Rory Scannell sends Andrew Conway down the right-hand wing with a sumptuous skip pass but Connacht win it back on their own 22 from a loose pass by the flying outside back.

36 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Connacht win their third penalty from three put-ins to their own scrum. Into the Munster half from Carty’s kick.

37 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Quinn Roux loses the ball in contact after a firm hit by Ryan. Munster scrum on their 10. Game has descended to scrappy fare over the past five or six minutes.

39 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: An game of kick-tennis eventually sees Keith Earls palm his own probing chip backwards into the hands of a red jersey. Munster looking to move near halfway.

40 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Penalty Munster for a high tackle by John Muldoon. Keatley points to touch and puts Munster inside the Connacht 22.

41 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Quinn Roux with a HUGE turnover in contact! Carty puts it in touch and takes us to the interval.

Half-time – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Darren O’Shea’s try the difference at the break in what’s a close-fought battle at Thomond.

40 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Back underway at Thomond. Connacht take it up to halfway through Adeolokun.

41 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Connacht make serious inroads through Carty and Butler but Conway makes a superb tackle on the latter. Munster win a penalty but Connacht steal the resulting lineout and clear their lines.

43 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Blade again clears for Connacht; Zebo’s pass wide is behind Farrell and dribbles into touch near halfway.

44 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Connacht get the ball rolling and cross halfway through Griffin and Pita Akhi. Adeolokun pumps his legs in contact and takes it beyond the 10.

45 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Munster win a scrum from a maul on their own 10.

46 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Kilcoyne gets his own back and wins his side a penalty from the scrum. Keatley drives it into touch up at halfway.

47 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: A wonderful reverse kick from Keatley sails beyond the Connacht back three and bounces into touch deep inside their 22.

49 – Munster 10-6 Connacht: Munster take it into the Connacht 22 from the resulting clearance. A nice half-burst from Farrell sees Connacht penalised on the ground for not releasing – Muldoon the culprit – and Murray, with an advantage, sees a hit-and-hope kick caught for a mark by Healy on his own line. Penalty Munster, and Keatley has a kick from the 22.

50 – Munster 13-6 Connacht: Keatley nails it to push Munster to a seven-point lead – their biggest of the evening.

51 – Munster 13-6 Connacht: A stunning break from Keith Earls from deep within his own 22 sees the Limerick man chip ahead and Connacht regather, but the visitors knock on in a ruck on their right-hand touchline. Scrum Munster inside the 10.

53 – Munster 13-6 Connacht: Earls dances again out left as Munster move well inside the Connacht 22. Keatley chips through and after some hesitation from a scrambling O’Halloran due to a rotten bounce, Conway dives on the ball with the Connacht fullback! We go upstairs!

53 – TRYYYYYYY MUNSTER! Munster 18-6 Connacht: Andrew Conway is adjudged to have grounded the ball ahead of O’Halloran and Munster stretch their lead. Horrible moment for visiting fullback.

54 – Munster 20-6 Connacht: Keatley splits the upright from the right-hand flank – his finest kick of the evening.

55 – Munster 20-6 Connacht: Roux knocks on at halfway. Munster put-in.

56 – Munster 20-6 Connacht: Stander from the scrum feeds Murray who goes wide to Conway. The tryscorer is stopped, just, by Matt Healy, and Munster’s advances are curtailed by a Stander knock-on under pressure to regather a loose ball. Connacht scrum in their own 22.

58 – Munster 20-6 Connacht: Munster win a scrum about 30 yards from the Connacht line through a knock-on from Blade.

59 – TRRYYYYY MUNSTER! Munster 25-6 Connacht: Keith Earls gets the try his second-half performance deserves as Scannell combines beautifully with Keatley to release Conway, who in turn puts Earls in at the left-hand corner.

60 – Munster 25-6 Connacht: Keatley misses his first kick of the night from the left wing.

61 – Munster 25-6 Connacht: Earls again makes huge ground down the left wing. Moments later, he’s dumped in what seems at first glance to be a horrendous tip tackle by Quinn Roux.

62 – Munster 25-6 Connacht: Earls lands on his side, but Roux is extremely lucky that it wasn’t worse. He’s sent to the bin.

63 – TRRRYYYYY MUNSTER!!! Munster 30-6 Connacht: After Roux’s yellow card, Conor Murray burrows over from close range following the lineout maul to secure Munster’s bonus point.

65 – Munster 32-6 Connacht: Keatley adds the rest.

66 – Munster 32-6 Connacht: Healy pinged for a high tackle on substitute Sweetnam. Scannell moves Munster to within a few yards of the whitewash.

68 – Munster 32-6 Connacht: Ref going upstairs to see if Stander got the ball down after some fine work from Mike Sherry off the back of the maul. Munster have an advantage in any case.

68 – Munster 32-6 Connacht: No try. Ref goes back for the Munster penalty, and Keatley dinks the ball into touch at the five.

69 – TRRRYYYY MUNSTER! Munster 37-6 Connacht: Conor Murray scores his second and Munster’s fifth as he once more burrows over from point-blank range.

70 – Munster 39-6 Connacht: Keatley provides the afters.

72 – Munster 39-6 Connacht: Connacht chip away at the Munster 22. Griffin moves them inside before Duncan Williams, on for Murray, intercepts a reverse pass. He pops to Sweetnam who shows incomprehensible handling – basketball like, through his legs – not to spill the ball. Scannell clears.

74 – Munster 39-6 Connacht: Williams does well to gather a clever chip which lands just yards from the Munster line; Keatley clears to the Munster 22.

76 – Munster 39-6 Connacht: Fleet footwork from Conway takes Munster clear of their own territory. They sweep it wide right where Jack O’Donoghue is halted. A Keatley chip is then gathered by Pita Akhi near halfway.

78 – TRY CONNACHT! Munster 39-13 Connacht: Tom McCartney collects a pass from a falling Cillian Gallagher and crosses in the left corner, this after some fine work by replacement James Mitchell. Ronaldson converts with a lovely kick from the touchline.

Full-time – Munster 39-13 Connacht

Munster’s Conor Oliver is named Man of the Match: Played the full 80 minutes after coming back from injury.

That’s it from us as Johan van Graan’s men save themselves the indignity of being swept by all three rival provinces this winter.

Munster returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion in the end, picking up a four-try bonus point for good measure. Connacht, like Munster and Ulster, finish this round of inter-pros 1-2, while Leinster – for now – reign supreme in these parts with three straight wins.

Cheers for sticking with us. Have a good Saturday!

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