Joey Carbery’s cameo seals Munster win over Cardiff
Irish outhalf makes return off the bench and steers the visitors home at the Arms Park
Joey Carbery on the ball during his return to action against Cardiff. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho
Cardiff Blues 11 Munster 20
Joey Carbery came on for the final 16 minutes to help Munster pull away and seal a 10th win of the campaign in a poor encounter at the Arms Park.
Samoan international Ray Lee-Lo wasted little time in welcoming Carbery back for his first action in over 13 months when he smashed him in midfield just after he came on, but the 25-year old showed little sign of rustiness.
Carbery set up the clinching score in the closing moments with an excellent touch-finding penalty which they mauled over to seal the issue when replacement hooker Niall Scannell touched down. He then landed the touchline conversion to really announce his return and deny Cardiff a losing bonus point.
Cardiff, back at the Arms Park for the first time in a year after the venue was used as a medical support facility for Covid-19, hit the front after 11 minutes when they punished a lineout overthrow from Munster hooker Kevin O’Byrne in a promising position.
The counter attack was given real momentum from 18-year-old centre Mason Grady and a few phases later Munster got their defensive line askew inside their 22 and lock Seb Davies raced through to score after a perfect flat pass from outhalf Ben Thomas.
Thomas hit the left post with the conversion and six minutes later try scorer Davies was binned for a needless shoulder charge on Shane Daly.
Another lineout overthrow saw the initial penalty chance wasted and all Munster managed to claw back with the extra man was a penalty in front of the posts from JJ Hanrahan just before Davies returned.
Both sides were guilty of basic errors but Cardiff increased their lead three minutes from the break when Thomas tapped over a penalty after Munster tighthead John Ryan was pinged for offside.
But Munster reduced the margin to 8-6 almost immediately when Hanrahan was presented with a penalty in front of the posts after Cardiff loosehead Corey Domachowski was penalised for hands in the ruck.
The second-half was a dismal contest full of errors. Thomas extended Cardiff’s lead from 43 metres after 53 minutes but Munster countered with an 11-phase move which ended with a try under the posts from lock Jean Kleyn after a dink from Hanrahan earlier in the move was key.
Thomas missed two penalties from distance and they paid the price with Carbery’s cameo ensuring a miserable return to the Arms Park after a decade for Blues head coach Dai Young.
Scorers: Cardiff Blues: Try, S Davies; Pens, B Thomas (2). Munster: Tries, J Kleyn, N Scannell; Pens, JJ Hanrahan (2); Cons, Hanrahan, Carbery
Cardiff Blues: M Morgan; O Lane, M Grady, R Lee-Lo, A Summerhill; B Thomas, J Hill; C Domachowski, K Myhill, D Arhip; S Davies, R Thornton; S Lewis-Hughes, E Jenkins, J Turnbull. Replacements: L Belcher for Myhill (half-time); J Ratti for Davies (62); O Robinson for Lewis-Hughes (62); K Assiratti for Arhip (66); L Jones for Hill (67); T Bevacqua for Domachowski (73);
Munster: M Haley; C Nash, R Scannell, D de Allende, S Daly; JJ Hanrahan, N McCarthy; J Cronin, K O’Byrne, J Ryan; J Kleyn, F Wycherley; J O’Donoghue, C Cloete, J O’Sullivan. Replacements: N Scannell for O’Byrne (53); L O’Connor for Cronin (53); R Salanoa for Ryan (53); B Holland for Wycherley (64); J Carbery for R Scannell (64); G Coombes for O’Donoghue (64); Ryan for Salanoa (73); D Sweetnam for Nash (75).
RefereeL A Jones (Wales).