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Dublin: 13°C Friday 23 April 2021
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Leinster win a 'monkey off our back', but Munster must quickly refocus -- Tommy O'Donnell

The openside put in a serious shift on Saturday evening, but says the team discipline must improve.

Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

EVEN AFTER PUTTING in a Trojan effort to help Munster seal a first win over arch-rivals Leinster in Dublin since 2008, Tommy O’Donnell was keeping a clear head when he spoke to media beneath the Aviva Stadium stands.

The openside was Munster’s leading tackler, ending the day on 17 tackles (Munster’s total was 158) and, in attack, 10 carries to keep Munster edging over the first-half gainline.

O’Donnell joked “the first half” when asked where the game had been won, but also pointed to his pack’s patience in making short-range carries around the fringes as a major factor.

“When you’re getting change there you might as well keep going. We went in with our normal gameplan and after a couple of phases we realised there was going to be a bit of change there and we just kept hammering it and we were getting go-forward ball.

“Balls were just popping up and we were getting easy – well, maybe not that easy – carries that were the right thing to do at the right time.”

O’Donnell admitted that silencing the crowd on Lansdowne Road was  ”a bit of a monkey off our back,” but with Munster always expecting Leinster to come back fighting before the finish, the realisation of that fear will make it easy for the squad to pick out areas for improvement before the visit of Scarlets to Thomond Park on Friday.

“These games ebb and flow - It was always in the back of our minds that Leinster would come back and have a purple patch – they did but we did enough.

CJ Stander, Paul O'Connell and Tommy O'Donnell tackle Jamie Heaslip Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“If our discipline was a little better we could have held them off a bit more, but happy to get the win.”

He added: “It’s a short turnaround to next week and we don’t want to be saying next week that we got caught on the hop and we were still thinking of the victory.

“It’s a win, move on. It’s very early in the season yet and it’s just good to have the points in the bag and just savour it for tonight and move on.”

- Reporting by Murray Kinsella

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Sean Farrell

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