Ulster survive late Munster comeback
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Ulster 1-14 Munster 1-13.
ULSTER withstood a tremendous Munster fightback to set up an Inter-Provincial decider with Leinster at Croke Park this Sunday.
Ulster led by eight points at half time but it took them 22 minutes to register a second half score at which stage they were trailing Munster. Two points from Ciaran McKeever and a free conversion by Sean Cavanagh allowed Ulster to wrestle the inititative back from their opponents and from there they were able to hold on for victory despite being reduced to 14 men following David Givney's dismissal.
There was a strong wind that blew in Ulster's favour during the first half and they made full use of that advantage. Sean Cavanagh scored after only 12 seconds and the Tyrone man converted a free after Martin Penrose had scored from play. Colm O'Neill responded with a free for Munster but Ulster were rampant and when Martin Penrose smashed a goal past Brendan Kealy on eight minutes, it was little more than Ulster deserved.
Eamon McGee pointed to create a six point gap between the sides but Conor McManus was the star man in the Ulster side during the first half. The Monaghan man pointed four times in the first half, all from play and his general play and handling were excellent.
Colm O'Neill pointed two more times for Munster but Sean Cavanagh put Ulster 1-7 to 0-3 up after 22 minutes. Further points from Cavanagh, McManus and David Givney gave Ulster a lot of breathing space. Ger Collins scored Munster's first point from play on 26 minutes and further points from O'Neill and Aidan Walsh meant that at half-time they trailed Ulster on a score-line of 1-11 to 0-6.
The second half saw a complete reversal of fortunes as Munster began with an attacking impetus that had been sorely lacking in the first half. The first score of the half was a penalty conversion by Donncha O'Connor after referee Jerome Henry generously awarded Munster the kick for a challenge on Colm O'Neill.
Confidence returned to the Munster men and scores from Gary Brennan, Colm O'Neill, Marc ”'Sť meant that Ulster only led by two points. Then on 47 minutes David Givney was given a second yellow card for an throwing an elbow and was consequently sent to the stands.
Substitute Barry O'Driscoll took advantage of the space left by Givney to point for Munster and when Paul Kerrigan and Aidan Walsh pointed for the visitors, they took the lead for the first time in the game.
Ulster battled hard and two points in quick succession from the excellent Ciaran McKeever put Ulster back in front and when Sean Cavanagh pointed a free on 64 minutes, Ulster looked most likely to win.
Aidan O'Mahony did manage to score one point but Ulster held on in the final few nervy minutes to seal victory.
ULSTER: Pascall McConnell, Christopher McKaigue, Neil McGee, Eamon McGee (0-1), Cathal McCarron, Darren Hughes, Ciaran McKeever (0-2), Sean Cavanagh (0-5, 3f), David Givney (0-1), Mark McHugh, Mark Poland, Joe McMahon, Martin Penrose (1-1), Kevin Niblock and Conor McManus (0-4). Subs: Kieran Hughes for Cathal McCarron, Conor McAliskey for Mark Poland, Paul McComiskey for Kevin Niblock
MUNSTER: Brendan Kealy, Marc ”'Sť (0-1), Aidan O'Mahony (0-1), Paddy Codd, Noel O'Leary, Eoin Cadogan, Paudie Kissane, Gary Brennan (0-1), Aidan Walsh (0-2), Alan Clohessy, Donncha O'Connor (1-0), Paul Kerrigan (0-1), Gary Hurney, Colm O'Neil (0-5, 5f) and Ger Collins (0-1). Subs: Maurice O'Gorman for Paddy Codd, Barry O'Driscoll (0-1) for Alan Clohessy, John O'Riordan for Paul Kerrigan, Rory Donnelly for Ger Collin
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