Ryan Bailey reports from Thomond Park
JOHANN VAN GRAAN lauded the manner in which Andrew Conway responded to his inexcusable error against Connacht last night, not before reminding the Munster winger that ‘it’s not good enough’ to fail to score once over the line.
Conway endured a moment to forget as he squandered a gilt-edged scoring opportunity in the first half of Saturday’s Pro14 inter-pro, with the Ireland international paying the ultimate price for his complacency.
Fitzgerald dislodges the ball from Conway’s grasp. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO
Having intercepted Tiernan O’Halloran, Conway casually sauntered towards the posts but, unaware Stephen Fitzgerald was chasing him down, had the ball dislodged from his grasp — a-la poor Freddie Burns — as he eventually looked to touch it down.
It was a horrible mistake and awful error of judgement by Conway, who immediately acknowledged his wrongdoing to team-mates and the crowd by putting his hand up as he jogged back into position.
Fortunately for the 27-year-old, first-half tries from Tadhg Beirne and Mike Haley established a commanding 17-7 interval lead for Munster, with the hosts crossing again through JJ Hanrahan after the break.
“He took responsibility straight away,” van Graan said. “It’s not good enough, once you are over the line you must score the try. He said it straight away to the team, and if you look at his actions on the field, he had two assists in the next two tries.
“Hand up from his side, it’s not good enough and it’s the next job. A valuable lesson for him to learn.”
At that juncture, Connacht had led through Finlay Bealham’s 23rd-minute try — the prop showing excellent flexibility to ground after the visitors had laid siege on the Munster line.
But the home side’s response was emphatic, with Beirne and then Haley crossing to spare Conway’s blushes, while Tyler Bleyendaal kicked 10 points as Hanrahan’s late score sealed the deal after Connacht had come back within striking distance.
“It’s always difficult to come from a disappointment and all credit to the players who really turned up for training on Tuesday and Thursday,” the head coach continued.