SORRY Munster dropped out of the European Champions Cup qualification places after suffering a 35-14 thumping at the hands of Connacht in their Guinness Pro12 clash at the Sportsground on Saturday night.
Inept Munster shipped 26 unanswered points after a decent first half showing to suffer a heavy 21-point defeat to high-flying Connacht before a capacity attendance of 7,786 in Galway.
A badly beaten scrum and poor discipline cost Munster dear as a rampant Connacht side secured Champions Cup qualification for next season in completing a first home-and-away double over their local rivals.
The heavy defeat leaves Munster seventh in the Pro12 table, one place outside of automatic Champions Cup qualification for next season. Munster are also seven points off the play-off places in the Pro12 ahead of a vital clash with Edinburgh at Musgrave Park on Friday, April 29.
Munster led 14-6 after 32 minutes with tries from Simon Zebo, on his 100th appearance for the province, following good play from Johnny Holland and Jack O’Donoghue and a second five-pointer from hooker Mike Sherry from close range after 23 minutes.
However, the complexion of the game changed in the 10 minutes before half-time as Connacht hit back with 14 unanswered points.
Winger Adeolokun touched down following a terrific off-load from prop Finlay Bealham. Former Young Munster out-half Shane O’Leary converted.
With James Cronin and later Billy Holland in the sin-bin as Munster’s discipline let them down, Connacht took full advantage and the home side was awarded a penalty try from a scrum five metres from the visitors line.
A second try from Adeolokun in the 54th minute following a neatly placed grubber kick left Munster trailing by 11 pioints at 14-25.
Munster looked to have given themselves a lifeline in the 61st minute, but Francis Saili knocked the ball forward in attempting to touch it down following a spectacular dive from close to the tryline.
Connacht sealed the win when impressive Irish prop Bealham touched down in the 67th minute.
SCORERS: Connacht Niyi Adeolokun two tries, pen try, Finlay Bealham try, Shane O’Leary three pens, three cons. Munster: Simon Zebo, Mike Sherry try each, Johnny Holland two cons,
CONNACHT: Robbie Henshaw; Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Matt Healy; Shane O'Leary, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Aly Muldowney, Sean O'Brien, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon (capt). Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Ronan Loughney, JP Cooney, Andrew Browne, James Connolly, John Cooney, Jack Carty, Fionn Carr.
MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Johnny Holland, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer, Donnacha Ryan, Billy Holland, CJ Stander (capt), Tommy O'Donnell, Jack O'Donoghue. Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Jordan Coghlan, Tomas O'Leary, Ian Keatley, Andrew Conway.
REFEREE: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
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