THE ARRIVAL OF Gloucester Rugby to Thomond Park will always invoke memories of the Miracle Match.
Rob Penney’s men paid a fitting tribute to the Heineken Cup classic, which took place over a decade ago, by putting four tries on the board against the Premiership side.
A 28-17 victory in Limerick, with a debut try for winger Andrew Conway, was the perfect preseason start for Munster. CJ Stander, who will definitely registered to compete in this season’s Heineken Cup, also dotted down while JJ Hanrahan scored under the posts and knocked over two conversions.
Penney used 33 players in total and will have been impressed with performances from players such as Ivan Dineen, Casey Laulala and Niall Ronan.
Gloucester hit the front through Jimmy Cowan, after Munster’s Johne Murphy had a try chalked off. The home side responded well and Ian Keatley was the backline catalyst for a crossfield move that saw Conway dive over in the corner.
The winger, signed from Leinster in the summer, went off immediately afterward but the club confirmed to TheScore.ie it was a purely precautionary substitution after he sustained a dead leg. Conway later thanked his new supporters for their vociferous support.
Dineen and Laulala combined to tee up Denis Hurley for Munster’s second try. With his side leading 14-5 at the break, Penney made a raft of changes and was rewarded when Hanrahan, one for Keatley, touched down. Stander dived over after a rolling Munster maul before Gloucester responded with a late consolation.
Fionn Carr started at fullback for Connacht. ©INPHO/James Crombie
Connacht’s preseason sweep of matches is now at an end and Pat Lam, after three games, has yet to experience the winning feeling. Craig Clarke started in the second-row for the westerners and Newcastle Falcons led 6-3 at half-time.
Second-half tries from Ryan Shortland and Andy Higgins settled the tie in the favour of the newly promoted Premiership side. There was the consolation of a late try, in the righthand corner, for Connacht back-row Willie Faloon.
Lam and Connacht will now hit the training ground in Galway over the coming weeks with a victorious start to the RaboDirect Pro12 season the goal. First up at the Sportsground are Italian side Zebre.