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Munster sack Ulster in Belfast for first time since 2016

By PA
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Ulster fell to their first home defeat in the United Rugby Championship as Munster came away from Belfast with what was their first victory there since October 2016 after triumphing 24-17.

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First-half tries from Stephen Archer and Keith Earls, along with a conversion and four penalties by Joey Carbery over the course of the night, saw Munster to a valuable victory.

Ulster trailed 15-3 at the break and, despite battling back in the second half with tries from Rob Herring and Sean Reidy, they slipped from second to fourth in the table thanks to a third straight URC defeat, with Munster climbing to third.

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John Cooney opened the scoring with a seventh-minute penalty, but Munster levelled it four minutes later through Carbery.

Munster then claimed the next score just after the 20-minute mark when the visitors put a penalty to the corner where, from an untidy line-out, prop Archer drove over from close range.

Carbery’s conversion put them 10-3 ahead and this became 15-3 on 27 minutes.

Munster moved the ball at pace from left to right, with Damian de Allende and Carbery combining for former Ulster centre Chris Farrell to provide the assist for Keith Earls to touch down. Carbery missed the conversion.

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Though Ulster battled to get back into the game, with Robert Baloucoune looking dangerous and Cooney making some determined runs, they made no inroads on the scoreboard as the opening half ended with Munster maintaining momentum and staying 12 points in front.

Ulster skipper Iain Henderson did not return for the second half and Munster got the first score through a Carbery penalty.

Ulster were given hope on 47 minutes when a terrific take by Stuart McCloskey launched an attack which led to a penalty and, in turn, saw Herring touching down from the resulting maul. Cooney also converted to cut Munster’s lead to 18-10.

Carbery kicked his third penalty just short of the hour, but – with barely five minutes left on the clock – Reidy scored close in for Ulster after Shane Daly’s yellow card, and Nathan Doak’s conversion cut Munster’s lead to four.

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However, with a minute to go, Carbery landed his fourth penalty to secure the contest.

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