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Carbery nightmare comes good as Munster survive Connacht scare

By PA

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Diarmuid Barron’s 78th-minute try proved decisive as Munster edged out Connacht in a rip-roaring 20-18 United Rugby Championship win at Thomond Park.

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The all-important conversion was added by Joey Carbery, who just a few minutes earlier had been charged down by Player of the Match Jack Carty for the concession of seven points.

However, on the fifth anniversary of Anthony Foley’s death, Munster pulled out a smash-and-grab victory to remain unbeaten after four rounds.

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The first interprovincial clash of the season was a typically bruising affair, Chris Cloete’s late try sending Munster in at the break with a 7-6 lead.

Two Carbery penalties sandwiched an unconverted effort from Connacht number eight Paul Boyle, but despite Carty’s 70th-minute heroics, the Munster forwards had the final say.

Eager to bounce back to winning ways, a free-flowing first Connacht attack brought Mack Hansen in off the blindside wing and set up Carty’s opening penalty.

The Connacht fly-half doubled the lead in the ninth minute, with Conor Oliver and Gavin Coombes soon trading turnover penalties.

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Hansen had a try ruled out for a forward pass, but Bundee Aki was clearly revelling in the physicality of a niggly interprovincial tie.

Busy flanker Cloete increased his influence at the breakdown, but the Munster line-out continued to misfire.

Sam Arnold’s sin-binning for a swinging-arm tackle opened the door for the hosts, though, and they edged ahead on the stroke of half-time.

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Cloete grounded the ball after Tadhg Beirne had hacked through from a pinpoint cross-field kick from Rory Scannell. Carbery converted, but Connacht felt aggrieved as Beirne appeared offside on the replays.

Early in the second half, Cloete almost sniffed out a second try before Carbery knocked over his first penalty.

Crucially, the Westerners hit back swiftly, with Boyle lunging over from a tap penalty. Carty’s conversion hit the post.

Carbery nudged Munster back in front on the hour mark but it was his dithering on a clearance kick that allowed Carty to swoop for Connacht’s try.

Try as they might, Connacht’s overworked defence could not hold out from relentless Munster pressure. Barron drove in low to score and Carbery nailed the kick.

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Carbery nightmare comes good as Munster survive Connacht scare

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