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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019
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Munster 36-8 Ulster

Good evening one and all. No David Wallace in the matchday squad but the legendary back-row will be present at Thomond Park for a fond farewell from the Munster faithful.

Here are the line-ups:

Munster: Jones; Murphy, Dineen, Mafi, Zebo; Deasy, Murray: du Preez, Sherry, Botha; O’Driscoll, O’Connell; Ryan, O’Donnell, O’Mahony.

Replacements: Varley, Kilcoyne, Archer, O’Callaghan, Butler, O’Leary, TBC, Earls.

Ian Keatley is out with a head injury. His spot in the starting line-up goes to Scott Deasy.

Ulster: D’Arcy; Trimble, Spence, Whitten, Cochrane; Jackson, Marshall: McAllister, Brady (capt.), Fitzpatrick; Stevenson, Tuohy; Henderson, Faloon, Diack.

Replacements: Annett, Black, Court, McComish, Birch, McIlroy, I Humphreys, Gilroy

Leinster also kick-off at 7.30pm, away to Dragons in Wales. Our very own Sean Farrell tees the action up nicely in this piece.

David Wallace spoke to RTÉ before the match. He said he would have loved to continue playing for a few more years. Wallace added:

I’m honoured and lucky to be involved with some of the players that I have been and the era that I played in. I look back on my time here with great fondness.

We’re underway. Mafi and Zebo combine early to set up a canter down the left wing by Dineen but he is bundled out of play. Looking forward to seeing Zebo getting a chance with the Irish squad in New Zealand this June.

TRY! Paddy McAllister not binding at the scrum. Munster kick for the line and Donnacha Ryan takes cleanly at the line-out to set up a rolling maul. Play goes up to the Ulster line before the ball is thrown to the left wing for Simon Zebo to touch down in the corner. Scott Deasy gets a difficult conversion to make it Munster 7-0 Ulster.

Great break from Conor Murray puts Ulster on the back-foot again and Ulster are just about hanging on. A promising period of pressure comes to nought as Simon Zebo goes off his feet at the breakdown. 22-year-old front row Paddy McAllister is being helped from the field and Tom Court is on the field after only 12 minutes.

Andrew Trimble gets a yellow card for deliberately taking out Simon Zebo and preventing what would have been a certain score. No penalty try awarded but Deasy has a penalty on the ’22. He gets it and it is now Munster 10-0 Ulster after 13 minutes.

Over in Wales, Leinster lead Dragons 9-6 and Ian Madigan has slotted three penalties.

Tom Court’s presence in the scrum is paying off already and Ulster get a penalty. 45 metres out but no problem to Paddy Jackson. His fine kick makes it Munster 10-3 Ulster.

Trimble is back on and Ulster will be delighted to have kept in touch. Zebo threatening again but a Deasy pass is forward and goes astray. A Jack McGrath try has made it Leinster 16-6 Dragons. Connacht, meanwhile, are trailing Glasgow 6-3.

Great to see the young out-halves Paddy Jackson and Scott Deasy playing with such confidence and authority. No Ruan Pienaar or Ronan O’Gara on show but a glimpse of the future. BJ Botha wins a scrum for Munster and Deasy kicks his side into the visitor’s half.

Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe has scored a try for Glasgow against Connacht over in Scotland.

Henderson gets a whistle blast in his ears after not rolling away. Deasy’s penalty is not too trying but he strikes it wide and right. Ulster doing all the defending here at the moment.

Ian Humphreys, who will be heading off to London Irish in the summer, is on and will take over the out-half duties as Jackson moves to the centre. Ian Whitten is penalised for not rolling away but Deasy doesn’t fancy a 60-metre kick at goal (whimp!) and boots it up-field for a Munster line-out.

TRY! Pressure pays off for Munster as the ball is flung right and there is a three-on-one. Paul O’Connell thinks about pinning the ears back but opts to set up Peter O’Mahony instead. The flanker crashes over to score. Scott Deasy adds another super conversion from the opposite touchline this time. Munster 17-3 Ulster.

HALF-TIME

Other half-time scores, involving Irish sides, for you: Leinster 16-6 Dragons and Glasgow 11-3 Connacht.

Andrew Trimble was sucked in for that Zebo try and has been given a rough time so far by the Munster winger. Ulster will need to come up with some bite and pace in their second-half attack if they are hoping to get back into this contest.

Back underway at Thomond. Some promising darts by Stevenson and D’Arcy early on peeter out and Munster are back on the attack.

Paul O’Connell is determined not to lose to Ulster on his patch again as he causes a turnover off the back of an Ulster line-out. Give that man the key to the city… or a spare for the one he has already.

Mafi is at his bustling best and he finds Sherry on the charge in the Ulster ’22. Trimble shows great strength to steal the ball from the Munster hooker and Ulster survive again.

TRY! Conor Murray makes his fourth swerving break of the match and sets Munster up for another spell in the Ulster ’22. O’Connell claims a line-out and Mike Sherry spills over from the back of a rolling maul. Deasy gets another testing conversion and the score is Munster 24-3 Ulster.

TRY! Score of the match from Henderson of Ulster as he rampages into the Munster ’22 and shrugs off the attentions of Felix Jones and Zebo to touch down in the corner. Munster 24-8 Ulster.Jackson misses the conversion.

A hush descends over Thomond as Paul O’Connell is helped off. He was caught in a tangle at the breakdown and his body writhed – looks like a bad leg injury. Declan Kidney and Les Kiss looking sombre in the stands.

Latest: Glasgow 17-3 Connacht and Dragons 6-19 Leinster

Johne Murphy very lucky to avoid the sin-bin and give up a penalty try as he grapples with Nevin Spence, who only had eyes for the tryline as he chased a grubber kick.

Munster look content to soak up Ulster’s advances in the closing stages. David Kilcoyne does great to get a Munster penalty as he smothers a charging Nevin Spence. Hilarity then ensues as a hoofed clearance knocks a takeaway coffee all over RTE commentator Ryle Nugent.

Mick O’Driscoll substituted and he receives a rousing reception as Thomond stands as one to applaud him off. Captain of Munster for that amazing All Blacks game in 2008.

Into the last 10 here. Dan Lydiate has scored a try for Dragons but Leinster lead by nine points. Connacht are on course for defeat as they trail 24-3 in Glasgow.

Declan Cusack and Tomas O’Leary on for their final bows at Thomond too. With rumours abounding about a possible retirement on the way for Denis Leamy, there will be a host of new faces in red next year.

TRY! A fourth try for Munster as Stephen Archer touches down at the base of the post. Cusack is given the kicking honours and he slots the conversion to make it Munster 31-8 Ulster. Ian Humphreys is dazed but walking as he is helped from the field. Damien Varley off for Munster too. A lot of bad knocks coming late in the season.

TRY! Munster salutes you Tommy O’Donnell! Fantastic score as the number 7 outpaces a spent Gliroy and throws a dummy to buy himself enough space to crash over. Cusack misses his conversion and the final score is Munster 36-8 Ulster.

FULL-TIME

Leinster have beaten Dragons 22-18 but Connacht were, by most if not all accounts, poor in a 24-3 losing effort against Glasgow. Semi-finals settled now: Munster away to Ospreys next Friday while Leinster play Glasgow at home on Saturday.

Cheers for keeping me company. We’ll leave the final words with man-of-the-match Conor Murray:

There was a huge tempo to the game, especially in the first half and I was struggling at times to catch my breath. We enjoyed it out there. It was good for Micko to get the applause near the end and we had a good performance to back that up.

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