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Munster run in five tries with a brace for Coombes in thrilling win over Cardiff

It finished 38-27 in Munster’s favour at Thomond Park.

Munster players congratulate try scorer Gavin Coombes.
Munster players congratulate try scorer Gavin Coombes.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Munster 38
Cardiff Blues 27

MUNSTER’S WINNING RUN continued in the new Pro14 season after a Monday night thriller at home to Cardiff Blues as they bagged five tries to clinch their third win of the campaign.

Gavin Coombes was the star of the show in the first half with two tries while Kevin O’Byrne, Jack O’Donoghue and JJ Hanrahan all got in on the act with second-half tries as Munster followed up on recent wins over the Scarlets and Edinburgh.

Cardiff pounced to strike the first blow inside the opening minute when centre Rey Lee-Lo grabbed the opening try of the game and Jarrod Evans supplied the conversion. But the Munster response was swift and decisive as Coombes got over from close range while Ben Healy’s conversion tied the game at 7-7 after only seven minutes had elapsed.

A penalty from Evans in the 16th minute nudged Cardiff in front before Coombes supplied the try-scoring inspiration again for Munster. Healy kicked the conversion before trading penalties with Evans to leave it 17-13 in Munster’s favour at the break.

The third try arrived for Johann Van Graan’s side 13 minutes into the second half to put daylight between the teams. Kevin O’Byrne was at the end of a lineout take and maul to score while Healy’s accuracy was in again for the conversion attempt.

But the pressure came back on straight away as Aled Summerhill’s try ensured Cardiff made a forceful reply, Evans kicking the conversion to leave them trailing 24-20 and within touching distance.

The game continued to ebb and flow. Munster pushing clear with a Jack O’Donoghue try that was converted in the 59th minute, Cardiff countering courtesy of Willis Halaholo and Evans adding the extra points four minutes later.

But the final and critical score was notched by Munster, JJ Hanrahan capping off a wonderful team move with the fifth try while he bagged the conversion himself. That 11-point advantage was protected until the finish with the closing stages notable for Academy prop Josh Wycherley coming on for his debut.

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Scorers:

Munster:
Tries: Coombes (2), O’Byrne, O’Donoghue, Hanrahan.
Cons: Healy (4), Hanrahan.
Pens: Healy

Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Rey Lee-Lo, Summerhill, Halaholo.
Cons: Evans (3)
Pens: Evans (2)

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Dan Goggin (Damian De Allende 29), Rory Scannel, Darren Sweetnam; Ben Healy (JJ Hanrahan 66), Craig Casey (Nick McCarthy 73); James Cronin (Josh Wycherley 70), Kevin O’Byrne (Rhys Marshall 60), Stephen Archer (Roman Salonoa 70); Fineen Wycherley (Jean Kleyn 65), Billy Holland; Jack O’Donoghue, John Hodnett (Chris Cloete 69), Gavin Coombes.

CARDIFF BLUES: Matthew Morgan; Aled Summerhill, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo (Garyn Smith 70), Hallam Amos; Jarrod Evans (Jason Tovey 70), Lewis Jones (J Hill 70); Corey Domachowski (Brady Thyer 67), Kristian Dacey (Ethan Lewis 70), Dmitri Arhip (Scott Andrews 70); Ben Murphy, Rory Thornton (Alun Lawrence 42); James Ratti, James Botham, Olly Robinson.

Referee: Andrea Piardi (France)

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