Connacht build on Kieran Marmion tries to see off Munster

Connacht scrumhalf’s performance should put him back in Joe Schmidt’s World Cup plans

Connacht 28 Munster 12

Kieran Marmion caught the eye with a dominant 40 minutes as two first-half tries must have him back in Joe Schmidt's World Cup plans.

Marmion twice sniped down the blind side off Connacht mauls to score at Thomond Park, while new signing Nepia Fox-Matamua also finished off the back of a strong Connacht maul.

Ireland forwards' coach Simon Easterby was in Thomond Park to cast his eye over Marmion and tight-head Nathan White, who impressed for half an hour, while Munster prop James Cronin also put in a solid display.

But the best sight of the night came when Mike Sherry score from a Munster maul after three minutes in to his comeback. It was a great way for Sherry to crown his first Munster start in 21 months after horrible knee and shoulder injuries.

But after such an impressive start Munster coach Anthony Foley would have been dismayed to see his side fall behind in the 17th minute when Marmion struck first. A fine touchline conversion from Jack Carty made it 7-5 to Connacht.

After a yellow card for Matt D’Arcy, the Ireland hopeful bagged his second try in the 25th minute when the Munster defence opened up again, and Carty was accurate with his touchline conversion to make it 14-5.

A sustained period of Munster possession produced a try for captain CJ Stander, and Ian Keatley converted seven minutes before the break, but just before the interval Pat Lam's side mauled their hosts one more to lead 21-12 at the break.

New signing Francis Saili made his much anticipated debut ten minutes into the second-half among a raft of changes from Munster coach Foley, and as often happens, the quantity of alterations did little to help the cohesion of the team.

Connacht continued to dominate and called up White early in the second-half to bolster their scrum. Soon after they pulled 14 points clear after referee David Wilkinson awarded a penalty try to Lam's side.

Once again the score came off the back of a Connacht maul making positive yards and with replacement Eoin Masterson likely to score, Munster collapsed the maul, which left Craig Ronaldson with a simple conversion.

The action was scarce in the closing stages, but Lam will have been dismayed to see centre Dave McSharry cry off injured in the final quarter, while Foley will have to assess the status of Jack O’Donoghue who left the action after 25 minutes.

SCORERS - Connacht: K Marmion 2, N Fox-Matamua, pen try tries; J Carty 3, C Ronaldson cons. Munster: M Sherry, CJ Stander tries; I Keatley con

CONNACHT: D Leader; T O'Halloran, R Parata, B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; JP Cooney, T McCartney, R Ah You; U Dillane, A Browne, J Muldoon (c), N Fox-Matamua, E Masterson. Replacements used: D Poolman, D McSharry, F Bealham, D Heffernan, J Cooney, Q Roux, N White, E McKeon, C Ronaldson, B Marshall, G Naoupu.

MUNSTER: D Johnston; S Monahan, C Bohane, M D'Arcy, G van den Heever; I Keatley, D Williams; J Cronin, M Sherry, S Archer; S McCarthy, D Foley; Dave O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue, CJ Stander (c). Replacements used: J Coghlan, N Scannell, C Sheridan, B Johnston, F Saili, J Madigan, BJ Botha, K O'Byrne, J Ryan, Donncha O'Callaghan, S Buckley, S Fitzgerald.

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU).