Sunday 17 December 2017

Munster can soothe travel sickness at Connacht

Penney's men aim to maintain momentum

IT WAS December 28, 2008. Ian Keatley, then wearing green, kicked four penalties to give Connacht a shock victory over Munster in Galway, writes Des Berry.

It was the first time Connacht had taken Munster's scalp since 1986. There may have been a misconception that there would be more days like that ahead.

Tomorrow, Keatley will be wearing red, although he has to settle for a bit-part in Rob Penney's plans when the Heineken Cup rolls around.

Connacht have taken out Harlequins in their first season in the Heineken; Biarritz in their second.

But they have won just one of their last five Pro12 matches. However, The Westerners have won two of their last three encounters with fellow Irish provinces, Munster being the odd one out, and are going for a clean sweep of victories against the three other provinces in Galway this calendar year.

Munster have won three of their last four in the league. But they have only two out of five on the road, a reflection of how coach Rob Penney is changing the style of play.

The questions are how much progress have Munster made and how much have Connacht benefitted from their Heineken experiences?

Verdict: Munster

MUNSTER - D Hurley; J Murphy, C Laulala, J Downey, L O'Dea; I Keatley, P Stringer; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, S Archer; D O'Callaghan, B Holland; P Butler, T O'Donnell, J Coughlan (capt).

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