Friday 18 January 2019

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Cork Independent


Munster suffer shock loss to Ulster

Wednesday, 3rd January, 2018 5:46pm

Despite a 17 point advantage at halftime, Munster ended at the wrong end of their tie with Ulster in the Pro14 championship on New Year's Day.

The halftime score, 17-0, looked to be the launching pad for a comfortable win for Munster, however the men in red failed to score in the second forty, while Ulster produced a four-try turnaround to secure a bonus point win.

Starting the stronger, Munster dominated the first half through the use of their set piece and used a powerful maul to their advantage with Niall Scannell scoring a brace, the hooker touching down off the back of rolling mauls.

After missing an opening penalty kick, outhalf JJ Hanrahan was again unable to find his form off the tee and missed both conversions.

A third try came by way of a penalty try just after the half hour mark when the pack dominance continued come scrum time, and Van Graan’s men went in at the half 17-0 ahead and utterly dominating their opposition.

Munster held their northern counterparts scoreless for 57 minutes and it was only when the men in red were reduced to 13 that Ulster delivered their first punch through a Darren Cave try. Just prior to that, Munster substitute Fineen Wycherley was sent to the sin-bin on 55 minutes.

During the build-up to the try, centre Sammy Arnold was issued with a red card for a high tackle on Ulster outhalf Christian Lealiifano and the southern province were again exposed minutes later when defending with 13 men.

This time Craig Gilroy scored out wide diving on a Cave grubber and the lead was reduced to five points moving into the final quarter.

The winger completed his second-half brace when again scoring out wide on 73 minutes, and with Cooney kicking the conversion, Ulster led for the first time.

The comeback continued into the final minutes with Rob Lyttle breaking out wide to seal the bonus point victory for his side.

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