Carbery wasting no time in making his mark at Munster
By Daire Walsh
ATHY’S Joey Carbery enjoyed a dream first start for Munster at Irish Independent Park (formerly Musgrave Park) last Friday evening, as he contributed 15 points in a facile Guinness PRO14 victory for the Red Army.
Because the Ospreys had opted to rest a number of their first-choice operators for this visit to Cork, it was an ideal opportunity for Carbery to stake his claim for a more permanent out-half role. Eadestown native Tadhg Beirne was included in a Munster starting line-up for the first time, as he lined out in the second-row alongside Darren O’Shea.
After Munster had broken the deadlock with a 15th-minute penalty, Ospreys narrowed the gap courtesy of a Sam Davies penalty. This was Carbery’s cue to fully ignite the Munster challenge, however.
He secured a superb seven-point salvo at the opposite end and generally acted as a nuisance to the Welsh outfit’s defence. The burgeoning Irish international added conversions to tries from James Cronin and hooker Rhys Marshall, which helped Munster to establish a seemingly unassailable 28-6 interval lead.
Despite already having a bonus-point to their name, the Red Army maintained their high level of attacking aggression on the restart. Further five-pointers followed through Marshall (his second) and Arno Botha – Carbery supplied the extras to both scores to retain his 100% success rate off the kicking tee.
A Luke Morgan touchdown on the hour mark did provide the Ospreys with some form of solace, but Darren Sweetnam’s sharp finish ensured that Munster had the final say in a comprehensive 49-13 triumph.
In the absence of their Kildare contingent on Saturday, Leinster made light work of the Dragons to register a 52-10 success. James Tracy and Fergus McFadden were missing from the matchday squad, while Adam Byrne was on the scoresheet for the ‘A’ selection in their comfortable Celtic Cup win over Cardiff Blues ‘A’.
Sean Cronin got the ball rolling for Leo Cullen’s men with a converted ninth-minute try – and this was supplemented by a stoppage-time effort by a returning Josh van der Flier. Jonathan Sexton’s seven-point haul off the kicking tee also contributed handsomely to the Blues’ 17-0 half-time advantage – which was significantly bolstered after the resumption.
Either side of a Jordan Larmour score, Jamison Gibson-Park bagged a brace of tries for the rampant hosts. Dragons finally crossed the whitewash via Jordan Williams, to give head coach Bernard Jackman some form of satisfaction on his return to the RDS.
It did little to curb the influence of Leinster, though, as Tadhg Furlong and Scott Fardy completed the scoring inside the final-quarter.
Meanwhile, there was late drama in the Women’s Interprovincial Championship decider at Energia Park on Saturday evening. Leinster entered the proceedings knowing that a draw would be enough for them to reclaim their crown. A stoppage-time try from Rachel Allen-Connolly restored parity to a tense affair (14-14), but following a wayward conversion by Munster centre Niamh Briggs, Leinster squeezed through on score difference.