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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 4 March 2021


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Hello and welcome along to The42′s live coverage of the final ‘winter-pro’ of the festive season.

It’s Connacht v Munster at the Sportsground where both sides will be flying high after victories last weekend over Ulster and Leinster respectively. Cian Roche will be guiding you through the live coverage this evening.

Johann van Graan’s side avenged their defeat to Leinster earlier in the season with a convincing victory over Leo Cullen’s side at Thomond Park. He will be hoping for more of the same as they take the trip to Galway.

Stay with us to find out as we look forward to the 7.35pm kick-off.

We’ll have the team-line ups for you in the next few minutes as well as any changes to either side before the action begins.

As always, we want you to get involved in the coverage so simply post a comment below or send a Tweet to @cian_roche.

Enjoy the game!

Team News

One late change for Connacht this evening ahead of kick-off – Pete McCabe comes in for Denis Buckley who misses out through illness.


15. Darragh Leader
14. Cian Kelleher
13. Tom Farrell
12. Tom Daly
11. Matt Healy
10. Jack Carty
9. Caolin Blade

1. Pete McCabe
2. Dave Heffernan (Capt.)
3. Dominic Robertson McCoy
4. Gavin Thornbury
5. Quinn Roux
6. Paul Boyle
7. Colby Fainga’a
8. Eoghan Masterson


16. Tom McCartney
17. Matthew Burke
18. Finlay Bealham
19. Ultan Dillane
20. Cillian Gallagher
21. Angus Lloyd
22. David Horwitz
23. Colm DeBuitlear

Team News

No news of any late changes from the Munster camp, so it appears to be as you were for Johann van Graan’s side.


15. Andrew Conway
14. Keith Earls
13. Chris Farrell
12. Dan Goggin
11. Alex Wootton
10. Joey Carbery
9. Alby Mathewson

1. Jeremy Loughman
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Tadhg Beirne
6. Peter O’Mahony (captain)
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. Arno Botha


16. Kevin O’Byrne
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Stephen Archer
19. Billy Holland
20. CJ Stander
21. Conor Murray
22. Tyler Bleyendaal
23. Sammy Arnold

Can this man inspire another big victory for Munster this evening?

Joey Carbery Joey Carbery arrives at the Sportsground. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

So, with about 35 minutes to go until kick-off, why not catch up on all your pre-match reading…

“Mostly everything that they have been doing,” said van Graan when asked what has impressed him about Connacht this term.

“I think their defence is top-notch and their continuity play is very impressive, their kicking game is long and they force you into making mistakes.

“Any team that goes to the RDS and lead by 29-12 is a quality team and they have put in a few good performances in Europe as well so they are a quality side and will be really tough to beat.”

John Fallon brings us the latest from the Munster camp and how highly they are rating Connacht this evening.

You can read that full piece here

Focused: On-loan Leinster centre Tom Daly starts at inside centre in Bundee Aki’s place, partnering Tom Farrell. 

Tom Daly before the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Packed Out

The Sportsground is the place to be tonight, with supporters piling in from early this evening.

Connacht and Munster fans queue outside the Sportground before gates open Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Seconds out, round three.

Can you hear the howls of derision? The widespread teeth-grinding over inter-provincial competitiveness that became as much a Christmas staple as a row with a close relative in recent years?

It largely got killed off this year, and in its place came some compelling, furiously contested derby matches.

Sean Farrell reflects on this winter’s inter-provincial derbies and the ‘fitting finale’ we’ve got in store for us this evening.

25 minutes until kick-off.

You can read this piece by clicking here.

Connacht have only lost one in their last seven games – can they halt Munster’s charge this evening?

We’re not far away from kick-off now, so let’s get some predictions in.

Comment below or you can tweet @cian_roche

Keep your eye on the ball…

Nigel Carolan Connacht's Backs coach Nigel Carolan helps with some important last minute prep. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

1 min: Connacht 0 Munster 0

And we are off at the Sportsground.


4 min: Connacht 0 Munster 0

Connacht are pinned deep into their own 22, but manage a clearing kick through Carty.

Munster come forward again but a cough up a penalty, obstruction from Andrew Conway.

Connacht make some good ground.


6 min: Connacht 0 Munster 0

Daly bursts forward for Connacht and offloads smartly. Connacht drive forward as they sense the Munster defence begin to creak.

They instead go wide, Carty to Farrell and he’s grounded. They come back inside but Tadhg Beirne comes in with some tremendous defending and turns it over. 

Fabulous defending there.


9 min: Connacht 0 Munster 0

The crowd holler for Conway’s pass and claim it’s forward but not given. Munster kick to the corner but can’t make any progress. 

Connacht win their line-out and it’s cleared.

Both defences resolute in this opening period of the game, neither willing to give an inch and the basics have been excellent.


10 min: Connacht 7 Munster 0

Botha goes into contact but has the ball ripped from his grip, Farrell is there to tidy up and streaks through from an easy try beneath the posts.


18 min: Connacht 7 Munster 7

The perfect response.

Munster’s kicking since going behind has been good and they find themselves back inside the Connacht 22.

They win their line-out, Connacht struggle on the maul. Munster recycle well, Botha carries. It’s patient work from Munster, nine phases gone before Earls breaks through and offloads for O’Mahony to cross.

Carbery makes no mistake with the kick to level things up.


21 min: Connacht 7 Munster 7

The pace of this game has jumped considerably. The quality of the offloading, which has been a key factor in both tries, is superb.

Munster looking that little bit more resolute when they go into contact, turning over ball or forcing Connacht into errors and in turn winning penalties.

Carbery goes for the corner as Munster look to take the lead.


24 min: Connacht 7 Munster 7

Munster maul and draw in players and Carbery tries a crossfield kick but it’s no good – Earls can’t gather.

We come back for a Munster penalty off their maul work. Carbery goes for the corner again.

They win it, keeping the pressure on. Tommy O’Donnell batters the Connacht line. Quick hands, finds its way to Carbery in the centre.

Munster three metres short and they go to the narrow side. They dive over, we’ll go to the TMO.


24 min: NO TRY! Ball is short. We come back for the Munster scrum.

26 min: Connacht 7 Munster 14

Off of the scrum, ball squirts out and it’s Alby who feeds it to Goggin who meets it at full speed. There’s no stopping him from that sort of range.

He bashes his way over the line and Carbery tacks on the extra two points for the visitors.

Munster full value for their lead.


31 min: Connacht 7 Munster 14

Munster come forward again. Botha takes it down the narrow side but it’s a good tackle from Kelleher to force the knock on.

Connacht opt not to kick clear from deep but run it and then, as options lessen, kick for touch in the Munster half.

Some relief for the home side. Munster’s 70 carries is almost double that of Connacht in this first half (37).

Connacht’s early lead came thanks to this man…

Tom Farrell breaks free to score his sides opening try Tom Farrell says thank you very much as he streaks clear to give Connacht an early lead. Source: James Crombie/INPHO


34 min: Connacht 7 Munster 14

Carbery put to ground after a heavy tackle, ball comes loose. Munster retain possession.

Earls takes it down the left flank, but Connact force them to come back central and win the penalty.

Munster penalised for not releasing. Connacht kick for touch.


38 min: Connacht 7 Munster 14

Connacht come one side then another, grounded on the Munster 10 metre line. Blade keeps the ball alive with his strength feeding the ball back in the ruck.

We bleed into phase 8 before Connacht choose to kick, no use – doesn’t find touch. 

Munster’s clearing kick isn’t much better and the home side have a platform on which to build. Connacht look quite static in the last five minutes when it comes to ball being recycled.

Beirne comes barging in again and turns it over. Wootton tackled into touch. Connacht line-out.


40 min: Connacht 7 Munster 14

Connacht have actually won more turnover ball than Munster in this half but haven’t been effective into turning this into scoring opportunities.

Healy breaks up the pitch, but he’s stopped in his tracks. Connacht keep this momentum up. They’re looking to get back on level terms before the break.

Connacht win the penalty after Munster are penalised for coming in from the side.

They’ll have a shot at goal before half-time…


PENALTY! Connacht 10 Munster 14 – Jack Carty

Jack Carty with the last action of the half to cut the gap to four points before the end of the first half and what that will mean to the home side going in at the break?

What did you make of that opening half of action?

An excellent start from Connacht and some quick thinking from Farrell helped the home side into the lead but it’s O’Mahony and Goggin who made the most of Munster’s possession and territory to give them a half-time lead.

Who was your stand-out player of the first half?

Dan Goggin celebrates scoring despite Tom Daly Dan Goggin powers over for Munster to score their second try of the evening. Source: James Crombie/INPHO


40 min: Connacht 10 Munster 14

We’re back in action…


43 min: Connacht 17 Munster 14

From the restart, Connacht gather the ball and go wide with Tom Farrell.

He gets his head up to see Cian Kelleher outside of him and he streaks over to give Connacht the perfect start to this second period.

Carty makes no mistake from the kick and just like that the home side have retaken the lead.


47 min: Connacht 17 Munster 14

Connacht have come out in this second half re-energised. They’re looking for a second try of this second half and are about five metres short of the Munster line…

But they cough up a penalty just in front of the posts.

After a frantic start to this second half, Munster will be happy to slow things down and start playing again at their own pace.


52 Connacht 17 Munster 21

Munster try work it out from the back, Conway wants to skip through a few tackles but he’s grounded.

Munster driving into the Connacht line and seem to make ground every time they go into contact. They drive into the Connacht half.

Wootton tries to cross but he’s stopped just short. They go out to the left wing and Goggin is there to cross unopposed for his second try of the game and restores Munster’s lead.

Carbery converts.


52 min: Connacht 17 Munster 21

CJ Stander comes in for Botha.


57 min: Connacht 17 Munster 24

Sub Conor Murray, who came in for Alby Mathewson, feeds Kleyn in the hopes of turning the screw on Connacht.

Goggin’s second try took a little bit of wind out of Connacht’s sails and Munster force the home side into an error. Carbery has an easy kick to put visitors seven points ahead. No mistake.

Ultan Dillane in for Quinn Roux for Connacht.


61 min: Connacht 17 Munster 24

All the changes coming thick and fast now.

Alex Wootton makes way for Tyler Bleyendaal. Dave Kilcoyne comes in for Jeremy Loughman.

Munster win a penalty.


63 min: Connacht 17 Munster 24

A little kick through right in front of the Connacht line by Carbery is gathered by Healy but he’s put into touch by Earls.

Munster have a chance to win a bonus point – one more try will do the trick…


67 min: Connacht 17 Munster 31

The bonus point comes from Joey Carbery and you can’t say Munster don’t deserve it.

The changes have been excellent for the visitors – Murray, Stander, Kilcoyne all making an instant impact.

Earls tackle of Healy into touch creates the platform and they work it wide for Carbery to cross. He makes no mistake with the conversion.


70 min: Connacht 17 Munster 31

10 minutes remaining at the Sportsground.

Angus Lloyd comes in for his Connacht debut replacing Caolin Blade.


It’s been a hard-fought battle up to this point, but will there be late drama?

Less than 10 minutes to play…

David Heffernan and Keith Earls Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO


76 min: Connacht 24 Munster 31

What a finish this is set up to be! Carty picks up an offload and breaks the Munster line to cross for Connacht and converts instantly.

Only a converted try separates the sides here in Galway.


78 min: Connacht 24 Munster 31

Munster have a penalty deep in Connacht territory. Seconds tick away. 


79 min: Connacht 24 Munster 31

Connacht win the penalty. They’ll have to run it from deep inside their own half…

But they turn it over. Munster win it back. 10 seconds to play. Munster look to run the clock down….

All over.

Too much to do in the end…

Jack Carty gave the home side some hope with a late try and in the final moments they won possession back – meaning they would have had to work it from deep inside their own half.

But a turnover meant that Munster could run down the clock and Dan Goggin’s two tries, Peter O’Mahony’s first-half effort and Joey Carbery’s try, coupled with a flawless kicking performance, sees Munster come away with maximum points.

Dan Goggin scores a try Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

A massive result for Munster and Johann van Graan – a bonus point victory in a tight inter-pro derby.

A lot of positives for Andy Friend, but ultimately it was Carbery’s class and a Goggins’ power that inspired the visitors to victory.

Thanks for joining us this evening – make sure you stick around to for all the reaction from tonight’s match.

You can read Sean Farrell’s match report from the Sportsground by clicking here.

Thanks for reading, bye!

Andrew Conway celebrates after Joey Carbery scored his sides fourth try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

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