Monday, November 22, 2010

Murphy - back with a bang for Munster

BARRY Murphy celebrated his return to Munster’s starting line-up by grabbing a precious second half try in the province’s top-of-the-table Magners League victory over the Scarlets at Musgrave Park last night.
Murphy, who had not started a game for Munster in 14 months due to injury, powered through the Scarlets defence in the 51st minute after collecting Paul Warwick’s well-timed pass to score a terrific try.
A combination of ankle, back and hamstring injuries had forced Murphy’s absence from Munster’s starting line-up since September 2009.
The 27-year-old outside centre, who had made a brief appearance for Tony McGahan’s side against the Wallabies at Thomond Park last week, showed he had lost none of his old sparkle when crossing for a crucial try in the 27-26 victory.
Two other young Limerick players also contributed handsomely to the win. Garryowen scrum-half Conor Murray turned in a Man of the Match performance after being introduced as a first half replacement for the injured Duncan Williams.
Murray’s Garryowen club-mate, Mike Sherry, produced another eye-catching display at hooker.
Sherry was only called into the starting line line-up on match day after Damien Varley had been ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Munster coach Tony McGahan will be keeping his fingers crossed that Varley, hamstring injury victim Alan Quinlan and full-back Johne Murphy, forced to miss the win over the Scarlets with a knee injury, recover in time for Friday night’s trip to Rodney Parade to face the Dragons (7.05pm).
Munster currently enjoy a seven-point lead over the Scarlets at the top of the Magners League table.
Friday evening’s clash against the Dragons will be Munster’s third outing in the space of ten days.
Munster coach Tony McGahan said it was important now that they were mentally fresh for the challenge the Dragons would pose on Friday night.
“The biggest thing for us now ahead of the game with the Dragons on Friday is to make sure we recover properly,” McGahan said.
“We are faced with playing three games in a very short period.
“We need to make sure we are mentally fresh and looking forward to the challenge posed by the Dragons away from home.
“At this time we let the table look after itself. We need to make sure that we are going forward each week and are able to ground out victories with not everyone available to us. We are doing that at this point in time.”
“Overall, we are really delighted. A night like last Tuesday (against Australia) really takes a lot out of the players both emotionally and physically, especially in the wet conditions. It was a wet game and high attrition rate for the forwards. To back it up here and play against a Scarlets side which is fresh and not missing too many it is credit to the lads.”
Meanwhile, on the club front, Garryowen advanced to an ODM Financial Munster Senior Cup final date with Bruff on Sunday, December 19 after securing a comfortable 43-26 semi-final win over Dolphin at Tom Clifford Park.
Bruff’s scheduled semi-final meeting with Highfield was called-off after the Cork side confirmed that they are unable to play the game. Highfield also acknowledge that they have conceded the game to Bruff.



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