MUNSTER suffered a disappointing 28-12 defeat to Connacht at Thomond Park on Friday night in the second of their three pre-season friendlies.
Despite scoring a third minute try through fit-again hooker Mike Sherry - who was making his first appearance for the province in 21 months - Munster found themselves trailing 21-12 at half-time to the visitors.
Lively scrum-half Kieran Marmion scored two tries for Connacht, while flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua also dotted down. Munster number eight CJ Stander managed a 31st minute try for Munster before an official attendance of 2,700.
MUNSTER who struggled to subdue Connacht’s brilliantly executed maul throughout, conceded a penalty try on the 54th minute when the home side was penalised for illegally pulling down one of the visitors mauls close to the home side’s line.
The score sealed a deserved win for Connacht as both sides emptied the replacements’ bench in the second period. Munster hooker Sherry was replaced at half-time following his lengthy lay-off, while New Zealand centre Francis Saili was handed his debut for the province in the second period.
While this was Connacht’s final friendly before the start of the Guinness PRO12, Munster will take on London Irish at Musgrave Park on Friday next, August 28, at 7pm.
SCORERS: Munster: Mike Sherry, CJ Stander try each; Ian Keatley con. Connacht: Kieran Marmion two tries, Nepia Fox-Matamua try, pen try; Jack Carty three cons, Craig Ronaldson con.
CONNACHT: Darragh Leader; Tiernan O’Halloran, Rory Parata, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; JP Cooney, Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You, Ultan Dillane, Andrew Browne, John Muldoon (capt), Nepia Fox-Matamua, Eoghan Masterson. Replacements used: Finlay Bealham, Dave Heffernan, Nathan White, Quinn Roux, Ben Marshall, Eoin McKeon, George Naoupu, John Cooney, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman, Dave McSharry.
MUNSTER: David Johnston; Shane Monahan, Cian Bohane, Matt D’Arcy, Gerhard van den Heever; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer, Sean McCarthy, Dave Foley, Dave O’Callaghan, Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander (capt). Replacements used: Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Shane Buckley, Cathal Sheridan, Bill Johnston, Francis Saili, Niall Scannell, John Madigan, Jordan Coghlan, Stephen Fitzgerald.
REFEREE: David Wilkinson (IRFU)