Munster survive Glasgow scare
April 14, 2012
Stuart Hogg scored a hat-trick for Glasgow
© PA Photos
Ian Keatley's 20 points helped Munster to a narrow 35-29 triumph over Glasgow Warriors on Saturday evening in Limerick.
Tries from Luke O'Dea and Peter O'Mahony put Munster in the ascendancy at Musgrave Park - the hosts led 18-6 at the end of a largely forgettable first half. Two terrific tries from Stuart Hogg in a five-minute spell got Glasgow firing but Keatley's right boot had the biggest say and a Conor Murray try made the game safe for the hosts.
But Hogg's persistence paid off when he completed his hat-trick in injury-time, with Duncan Weir's conversion securing what could prove to be a vital losing bonus point for the Warriors. Although it was third playing fourth at the Cork venue, this tussle lacked spark for long spells and it turned into a penalty fest with Keatley, Ruaridh Jackson and Weir mopping up points.
Jackson booted the Warriors ahead with a 10th-minute penalty. Hampered by injuries and stung by their exit from Europe, Munster made a sluggish start and a series of penalties invited Glasgow forward. Jackson missed a second shot at the posts from further out, before half-breaks from O'Mahony and Keatley finally got the men in red motoring.
They were fluid in building through the phases, and Keatley split the posts with a levelling 19th-minute penalty. But neither side was able to move through the gears during a lacklustre first half. A surge on the right from O'Mahony got the crowd involved, and Felix Jones was inches away from notching the first try.
Glasgow forced a turnover to lift the pressure but Munster were swiftly back on the attack and the pressure told when Donncha O'Callaghan provided the assist for O'Dea to make it over in the right corner. Keatley flashed his conversion attempt across the posts and obstruction from Wian du Preez, straight from the restart, allowed Jackson to double his kicking tally.
Munster improved their discipline approaching half-time and took their scoring chances, with Keatley cancelling out Jackson's latest penalty and O'Mahony stretching over for a last-minute try.
The young Ireland back rower did brilliantly to scramble over despite the presence of three Glasgow defenders close to their line. Keatley's conversion widened the margin to 12 points. The Scots needed to show more urgency on the resumption and they did just that, speedster Hogg spearheading a counter-attack over halfway and he burned off two defenders for a fine score in the corner.
Keatley replied with a penalty but a neat one-two between Hogg and Colin Shaw unlocked the Munster defence again as the centre scampered through for a sizzling second touchdown. Jackson struck a post with his conversion attempt and his opposite number Keatley miscued a penalty attempt as the pressure increased.
The Munster number 10 was back on target with his next kick and as the streak of indiscipline continued at both ends, Glasgow replacement Weir was quick to respond. Another left-sided penalty from Keatley steadied Munster at 27-19, only for a ruck offence from Mike Sherry to be punished by Weir.
Munster were finally able to get some breathing space after Glasgow winger Federico Aramburu was sin-binned for not rolling away. Keatley sent the resulting penalty through the uprights and then replacement Murray dotted down in the left corner after Lifeimi Mafi's skilful offload had released Simon Zebo. The victory was within Munster's grasp and they closed it out, despite leaking a third try to Hogg - who gobbled up a hack through to score by the posts.
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