Munster tries are the Keys to victory


BRITISH AND IRISH CUP FINAL/Munster A 31 Cross Keys 12:TRIES FROM Duncan Williams, Luke O’Dea and Ivan Dineen saw Munster cruise to their first British and Irish Cup final victory, at Musgrave Park yesterday.

Welsh outfit Cross Keys were right there in the mix for silverware at half-time as the boot of Dragons regular Jason Tovey kept them well in the hunt, but O’Dea’s try three minutes after the restart ensured the home crowd had plenty to celebrate.

With the seniors still in the running for RaboDirect Pro12 honours it could well be a successful end to the season for Munster, and the performance of the second string will give Tony McGahan’s successor plenty to work with.

After dominating the opening 40 minutes, Munster A – coached by Ian Costello – somehow only held a 16-12 lead at the break, with four penalties from the boot of Tovey keeping the Welsh side in touch after Munster had bossed possession and territory.

After a tit-for-tat penalty battle in the opening minutes saw Cross Keys hold a 6-3 advantage, the home side looked certain to have opened their try account for the night when Denis Hurley sailed over in the corner after the lively Williams charged around the back of a solid Munster scrum. However, Scottish referee James Matthews penalised Munster for crossing during the move.

But from the resultant penalty, Gerwyn Price over-threw into his lineout and after Munster skipper Billy Holland gathered possession the Keys defence were caught off their feet and Deasy drew the home side level after 14 minutes.

On his debut Tovey was in superb form from the tee and pushed his side ahead three minutes later with his third penalty, but after missing a kick two minutes later, Deasy landed a simple kick in front of the posts 26 minutes in after Dan Hodge was caught offside.

Munster had competed admirably at the restarts and after gobbling up possession from the Keys kick, were handed the upper hand when Keys captain Rob Nash was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on. Munster went for the corner with the penalty and after a great take at the back of the lineout by Holland, Williams sniped around the side with a beautiful arching run and touched down beside the posts.

However, Tovey kept Keys in touch five minutes before the break after Munster fullback Seán Scanlon was sin-binned after being caught offside at a quick-tap penalty.

Three minutes after the restart, the visitors presented O’Dea with the easiest of tries. Number eight Jevon Groves carried the ball into contact five metres from his own line, but after presenting the ball without anyone in support, O’Dea scooped it up and dived over.

Once more Deasy added the difficult extras from the sideline and 12 minutes from time Munster put the result beyond doubt when the France-bound Denis Fogarty caught a booming garryowen before the ball was thrown wide to Dineen, who broke clear and touched down with ease.

MUNSTER: S Scanlon; L O’Dea, D Barnes, I Dineen, D Hurley; S Deasy, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, S Henry, S Archer; B Hayes, I Nagle; B Holland, D O’Callaghan, P Butler. Replacements: D Fogarty for Henry (48); B O’Mahony for Hayes (61); JJ Hanrahan for O’Dea (71); D Cusack for Deasy (72); G Hurley for Williams (75); B O’Hara for O’Callaghan (75); J Ryan for Archer (75).

CROSS KEYS: G David; K Baller, L Andrews, P Williams, N Throwbridge; J Tovey, R Dyer; R Cornock, G Price, M Jones; D Hodge, T Lampard; R Peebles, R Nash, J Groves. Replacements: L Rawlins for Peebles (51); C Traynern for Lampard (51); M Popham for Nash (60); J Sollis for Price (64); O Jones for Dyer (67); C Gould for Jones (67); L Williams for P Williams (70).

Referee: James Matthews (SRU).