Sweetnam and Sherry to the fore for Munster
It’s a new season, there’s a new 3G pitch at Irish Independent Park and last night’s pre-season friendly produced plenty of good rugby and two tries from Mike Sherry.
There is good history between Munster and London Irish; games go back many decades, and this encounter was as challenging as many in the past. It also produced the desired result for the home side.
Of course there were few of the iconic stars on view and both coaches, Munster’s Johann van Graan and Declan Kidney for the visitors, used everyone in their respective extended squads.
On an individual basis, Darren Sweetnam’s first-half display for Munster was well received; so too were a couple of clever touches and industry from visiting wing Topsy Ojo.
Munster led 20-14 at the break. The irony was that both opening tries came from mistakes on either side. Munster, having ruled territory for the opening ten minutes, coughed up a score through a badly timed pass in midfield. Matt Williams took advantage and Greig Tonks added the conversion for a 7-0 lead after 11 minutes.
The impressive Sweetnam took advantage of a London Irish error three minutes later, and on 19 minutes Brian Scott put Munster in front when he charged over from close in – all after more good wing play from Sweetnam.
JJ Hanrahan kicked Munster into a 13-7 lead with a drop goal and Dan Goggin got in for a 35th minute try that Hanrahan converted.
But that 20-7 lead was reduced on the stroke of half -time when Oliver Hoskins scored and Theo Brophy Clewes added the extras.
Sherry stormed over for a 56th minute try after a period of second-half pressure and Ian Keatley kicked the conversion to give Munster a deserved 27-14 lead, and they sealed the deal five minutes from the end when Sherry grabbed another mauled try.
It didn’t matter that the impressive Ojo got his just reward two minutes later with an excellent try, or that Scott Steele and Stephen Myler combined for a seven-pointer deep into injury time.