OVER 20 PHASES had been played and the cries of ‘Munster, Munster’ echoed around Musgrave Park but the exhortations were for a defensive effort.
Munster were 23 — 9 up and the clock ticked into the red but Newport Gwent Dragons, having accounted for Ulster and Scarlets already this season, were determined to take home a losing bonus point as a reward for their efforts. The home side were having none of it though and relied on huge interceptions from Sean Dougall and Felix Jones to stem the Welsh tide.
The final act of the game saw Munster sub Paul O’Connell prove such a nuisance that ruck ball was fumbled forward. Game over and the Dragons left with zero points.
As the final whistle went, Munster captain Peter O’Mahony took a slap on the back from O’Connell but made his way straight to Dougall and Jones.
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Denying the Dragons a try was “important” to O’Mahony, who made his second start of the season in the 14-point triumph. He said, “We talked about our defence and it hasn’t been good enough in the last couple of weeks. [Saturday] was a stepping stone and we still have a lot of work to do, with regard to our defence. We’re looking to take positives for this and kick on.” O’Mahony added:
It’s good to be back in the jersey and get a win at home. It’s always a good feeling, coming off the pitch having done the jersey proud and back on the peg where it belongs. We’re happy enough with the win.”
Next on the fixture sheet for O’Mahony and Munster is a league encounter with Leinster and Heineken Cup dates with Edinburgh and Gloucester.
“It’ll be good craic,” the Munster captain remarked. “We’ve a couple of tests ahead and a big couple of weeks with regard to the whole season — massive games — but everyone at the club is looking forward to it.”
- Additional reporting by Aoife Danagher