We felt that Clermont beat us up a bit - Munster's Ian Keatley

The 27-year-old kicked three penalties and felt that Munster lost out on the ‘little tiny margins’.

Keatley: The little scraps make all the difference in the end.
Keatley: The little scraps make all the difference in the end.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

MUNSTER OUT-HALF Ian Keatley felt his side weren’t too far off the mark during their 16-9 defeat to Clermont at Thomond Park last night, despite losing the physical battle.

The 27-year-old kicked three penalties from three to ensure Munster secured a losing bonus point, but scoring opportunities were few and far between for the southern province otherwise.

Keatley admitted post-match that Clermont’s superb start, which included a Fritz Lee try from the tail of a maul, had left Munster reeling. However, the former Connacht playmaker believed the margins were fine in the end.

“Being out there, we felt that they beat us up a bit. They set their stall out early, especially with scoring after two minutes, we knew we were in for a fight. It’s pretty disappointing that we didn’t get more.

“Before the match we thought we might have got a result out of that and we were looking forward to taking on Clermont. Those first five minutes they set their stall out early and showed us they were up for it as well.

Having said that we lost by seven points. A few clinical mistakes; a few knock-ons, a few high balls and the ball went to ground and they just ended up winning the battle on the ground and winning those 50/50 chances. That was the main difference in the end.

Keatley insists that Munster can turn those minor errors into positives next weekend at Stade Marcel Michelin in Clermont, as Anthony Foley’s side strive to keep their Champions Cup hopes alive.

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“We did our homework on them as well and for their second try [through Wesley Fofana], they got a little bit of luck and they are the little tiny margins in this game.

Even though we probably did get beaten up, backs and forwards, it was still only seven points in the difference. Those little tiny ricochets or those little scraps, make all the difference in the end.

“Even though we got beaten up we still had a chance to probably get the draw or one or two more things, we could have got a win.”

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Murray Kinsella

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