LIONS COACH WARREN GATLAND was at Thomond Park to run the rule over two sides that tore into each other from the get-go.
You may need to refresh the page for YouTube videos and other elements to display correctly.
Munster 16-22 Leinster
17.55 – Ok Munster fans, we’ll start you off with some bad news. Scarlets win over Glasgow Warriors last night has put your team on the brink of missing the playoffs. The Welsh side are 15 points clear in fourth place with just 15 points possible for Munster in their final three games.
On the bright side, you have to Heineken Cup semi-finals to look forward to, Paul O’Connell is playing like a demon and Munster could let some more air out of Leinster’s tyres this evening.
17.56 – Here is how it went down the last time the two sides crossed rugby swords[?!]:
YouTube credit: LeinsterrugbyTV
18.03 – I was at the Aviva Stadium on 6 October last year to see Leinster beat Munster 30-21. Here is an extract of what a younger version of myself wrote after the game:
Richardt Strauss, Fergus McFadden and Andrew Conway were fantastic for the home side as Leinster hurt Rob Penney’s side out on the wings and straight up the middle. Peter O’Mahony and Mike Sherry were two of Munster’s best performers with the Number 8 showing a lot of class and determination in a losing cause. What will concern Penney is the fact that his side missed so many first-up tackles that saw fledgling Leinster attacks mushroom into damaging try-scoring sequences.
18.06 – Here are your teams for tonight’s match:
Munster: F Jones; D Hurley, C Laulala, J Downey, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne , D Varley, S Archer; Donncha O’Callaghan, P O’Connell (c); P O’Mahony, T O’Donnell, J Coughlan.
Replacements: M Sherry, J Cronin, BJ Botha, B Holland, Dave O’Callaghan, C Sheridan, JJ Hanrahan, I Dineen.
Two strong starting XVs but the benches, particularly backline players, are a little short of stardust.
Leinster: R Kearney; D Kearney, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, I Nacewa; I Madigan, I Boss; C Healy, S Cronin, M Ross; L Cullen (c), Q Roux; S O’Brien, S Jennings, J Heaslip.
Replacements: R Strauss, J McGrath, M Bent, D Toner, K McLaughlin, J Cooney, A Goodman, A Conway.
18.14 – “It’s a bit like playing your brother,” Leinster coach Joe Schmidt tells RTE, “he’s the last guy you want to lose to.”
Just under 20 minutes to kick-off so let’s have your predictions:
18.20 – Two gems from Hookie on the box so far.
“Munster are not back but that performance against Harlequins was, I think, the best in their history.”
“We would never have heard of Jonny Sexton if Felipe Contepomi hadn’t pulled up injured in the Heineken Cup semi-finals.”
Bite yer tongue Shane. (Credit: RTÉ)
18.29 – We’re just about ready to roll. Leinster are the first on the pitch.
18.32 – KICK-OFF! Ian Madigan gets us started. Zebo collects and Downey has a batter up the middle. Leinster’s firm tackling knocks the ball lose but an off-the-ball tackle by Cullen concedes a penalty in the Munster half. Breeze with Leinster.
18.35 – Hello to Johnny T who is following the liveblog from Suriname in South America.
TMO! Looks like Kearney has a try.
18.38 – NO TRY!
Rob Kearney strips Donncha O’Callaghan up the left wing and barrel rolls over the tryline. Nigel Owens asks for a TV replay and it looks like a certain try has been denied for not grounding the ball. Bum steer in my opinion.
18.41 – PEN: Munster 0-3 Leinster (Madigan ’5)
Dave Kilcoyne is penalised at the scrum. Ian Madigan from the left wing judges the swirling wind to perfection and Leinster lead.
Kearney denied a try for not grounding the ball.
18.44 – O’Connell and Cullen, two old foes, are fighting their own, personal battle at the breakdown. Masters of the dark arts. Munster with possession but their phases can not get them into the Leinster 22.
If you got a chance to see it, what did you make of that no try decision?
18.47 – Huge tackle from Healy on O’Connell wins Leinster possession through a turnover. Sean O’Brien penalised for going in from the side at the breakdown. Keatley hits the line with his penalty and Varley finds O’Mahony. The maul is on but Leinster hold it up.
Andrew Goodman is on for the crocked Gordon D’Arcy. He is just back from surgery on an injured foot so perhaps it flared up OR he got a stamp. Speculation, of course.
18.50 – PEN: Munster 0-6 Leinster (Madigan ’14)
Mike Ross gets the better of Dave Kilcoyne for the second time and Madigan larrumphs a sweet penalty over the bar from 40 metres out and slightly to the right of the posts.
18.54 – Here’s another scrum, let’s see it develop. Leinster, who have the put-in, secure the ball and Cronin crashes up the centre from a pop pass courtesy of O’Driscoll. All the bite and invention coming from the visitors so far.
Stephen McCarthy – in the comment section – is correct. Limerick’s Live95 has live coverage of the game I believe. Friends of TheScore.ie
PEN: Munster 0-9 Leinster (Madigan ’19)
James Coughlan is pinged for not releasing and Madigan does the job from the tee again.
18.57 – TRY! Munster 5-9 Leinster (Keatley ’20)
Here we go now! Varley turns over the ball [possibly off his feet], the ball goes wide to Keatley and the outhalf dives over in the lefthand corner. Conversion is right and wide.
19.01 – Once again there is a touch of controversy. Varley was horizontal and off his feet when he wrested possession back for Munster at the breakdown. It was under ref Nigel Owens’ nose, however, and he deemed the hooker’s move legal. Murray found Keatley and the 10 was strong and determined in diving over.
No stopping Keatley. (Credit: RTE)
Kilcoyne gets in the face of Mike Ross this time as he wins a scrum penalty, which elicits a huge cheer from the home supporters.
19.02 – TRY! Munster 10-9 Leinster (Jones ’26)
Amazing mauling from Munster draws in Leinster numbers and there is an overlap on the right wing. Jones backs himself and dives over.
19.07 – The conversion goes askew, due to the swirling winds. Quinn Roux has been hauled ashore and Devin Toner takes his place in the Leinster second-row. It gets feisty as Rob Kearney takes a piece out of O’Mahony with a late hit. Zebo doesn’t like it and lends his voice to the thousands of baying Munster fans. 32 minutes gone.
19.09 – Munster 10-12 Leinster (Madigan ’33)
Varley concedes a penalty for holding on to Sean O’Brien at the breakdown. Madigan, who showed great feet to set up a Nacewa break moments ago, slots over another fine penalty in testing conditions.
19.13 – Here is a RTE screengrab of that Jones try:
Leinster win their first lineout after three attempts. O’Connell and O’Callaghan with one steal apiece so far. O’Mahony is penalised for a deliberate [a bit harsh] knock-down of a Healy pass to Goodman out on the left flank. 38 minutes on the clock.
19.16 – Down in the comments section, B Collins is giving me some constructive criticism and decrying what she perceives to be a pro-Leinster bias. If she reads my previous post she will see me calling a penalty against O’Mahony as a bit harsh. Thanks for all the comments so far lads and ladies.
19.25 – Half-time analysis from the RTÉ boys. Shane Horgan on Rob Kearney’s ‘no try’ decision: “It would be difficult to see how he didn’t touch the ball down at some stage.”
A right old battle in that first half as Leinster looked on top until Munster staged a fightback and got the maul working like a charm. The Munster back row have been collectively outstanding so far while Leinster are having a nightmare at the lineouts – not worrying Varley and not claiming Cronin’s throws. Still, Joe Schmidt’s men lead, thanks in the main to good scrummaging and Ian Madigan’s faultless place-kicking.
19.30 – KICK-OFF!
Ian Keatley gets us back underway. Dave Kearney calls it but knocks forward. Munster get the scrum.
19.32 – Munster 13-12 Leinster (Keatley ’42)
Archer and Kilcoyne are both in tune as the wheel the Leinster scrum. Penalty attempt coming up for Keatley, with Murray’s finger steadying the ball. He bends his kick in from the right and over the bar.
19.37 – Munster 16-12 Leinster (Keatley ’45)
Excellent stuff from Tommy O’Donnell and what in blue blazes is Mike Ross thinking? He clearly goes in from the side and another penalty is conceded. Keatley, confidence on the up and with Murray’s help, lashes a 60-metre penalty over the ball. Perfection from Keatley.
19.41 – Munster 10-12 Leinster (Madigan ’48)
First Tommy O’Donnell concedes a penalty by going in through the side. Kearney kicks up the line. Toner claims the lineout and Leinster go through the phases. Paul O’Connell is then whistled as he is off his feet at the breakdown, possibly holding on too. He gets some firm, mocking slaps on the back from the men in blue and responds by telling them to ‘Shut the fudge up’. My lip-reading is not the best. Madigan steadies the Leinster ship by slotting over a 20-metre penalty.
19.43 – Madigan is needed to cover and hack a Laulala grubber out of play as Coughlan bears down. 5m lineout for the Reds as O’Connell gets treatment for a cut that he doesn’t want. He gets his head strapped up. Healy and Cronin are both off for Leinster.
19.47 – Varley is accidentally offside so the mauling chance off the lineout is missed. Leinster get the scrum and just about hang onto possession before kicking clear but right into the cradling arms of Zebo, who charges into the Leinster 22. A few phases from Munster before good Leinster scrambling wins a scrum put-in.
Billy Holland replaces Donncha O’Callaghan on 53 minutes. Wonder what flavour Donnacha Ryan’s lollipop is?
19.49 – The Leinster scrum is solid but they can’t break out of their 22 as Zebo clatters Kearney. Munster win another lineout but are pinged for breaking away from a maul. Kearney hoofs clear.
19.51 – Shane Jennings will fight til the last for his team and he wins a lose ball by bravely diving on it amid swinging boots. The attack breaks down as their lineout is stolen by Holland and Jones hammers the ball down-field.
20.01 – ‘Driving in and straight across’ is the call from Owens as the Leinster scrum survive their latest harrying. Strauss finds Heaslip in the lineout and the Blues rumble forward. Rob Kearney’s card has been marked and he is bashed backwards by O’Connell and O’Donnell.
Kearney then chases back to prevent a grubber kick chase score from Zebo. He runs an odd ‘U’ that takes him into his own 22. Worrying times as Dave Kearney gets treatment after an awful kick in the head from Paul O’Connell, who will not be penalised.
Here is a picture of the incident:
Dave Kearney had to be escorted off the pitch after he was kicked in the head by Paul O’Connell, who was trying to connect with a ball presented by the winger. (Credit: RTÉ)
20.03 – 15 minutes to go and another scrum coming up. It crumples up the front but Heaslip gets it out the back and delivered to O’Driscoll. Play on the halfway line buy solid Munster defence. O’Donnell is having a blinder, apart from that one penalty concession.
20.07 – 18 phases [so far] for Leinster in the Munster 22. The forwards taking over. Reminiscent of the Pro12 loss to Ulster at the RDS.
20.09 – TMO! 26 phases later and O’Driscoll might have a try.
20.11 – TRY! Munster 15-22 Leinster (O’Driscoll ’70)
O’Driscoll tries three times at different phases but gets it down by the posts eventually. Try is awarded. Madigan slots over the extras.
O’Driscoll touches down by the posts. (Credit: RTE)
Leinster win advantage after getting out of a scrum with possession. O’Donnell steals the ball again. Penalty on lineout. O’Connell tells Keatley to hit the line.
20.17 – Three minutes left and it is Munster on the attack and in the visitor’s 22. Leinster steal and kick clear but Zebo brings it straight back.
20.20 – Conway rides O’Donnell like a schoolbag as he tries to slow the flanker. O’Brien brings down a flying O’Mahony, then, as play switches to the right. Heaslip then does wonders at the breakdown and wins his side a penalty. Madigan clears his lines. Big lineout coming up for Strauss and Leinster. 90 seconds left.
Leinster win it and maul.
20.21 – Leinster in their 22 with 10 seconds to go. They just need to win the final ruck.
20.22 – FULL-TIME
Brian O’Driscoll: matchwinner.
20.30 – Phew, what did you make of that?
True blood and thunder stuff from both sides. Leinster go into second in the league and Munster have no hopes of top four, which was an outside bet even before kick-off. O’Driscoll in perhaps his final inter-pro game with the game-winning try.
Cheers for the company and comments. Keep the debates flowing in the comments section below and stay with us over the evening for post-match reaction and quotes.