Sweet­nam and Sherry to the fore for Mun­ster

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

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.

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