Murray Kinsella reports from Thomond Park
MUNSTER ENJOYED A 65-10 victory against Sale Sharks at Thomond Park this afternoon. You can read our full match report here.
This European campaign will ultimately be seen as one of failure by Munster themselves, and no number of tries against a weak Sale team will help to heal the pain of the 33-10 defeat to Saracens in round five.
Munster fans went home happy this evening. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
However, there was joy in the attacking expression of the performance in Limerick today, with Anthony Foley’s men scoring no less than nine tries. Eight of those came in the second half, indicating Munster’s dominance of that period.
Attention can now turn wholly to the Pro12 campaign and the chance of silverware this season, but to end their European season on such a happy note will have been pleasing for Munster.
Ireland hopefuls do no harm
Simon Zebo was deservedly named man of the match for an excellent display at fullback, from where his counter-attacking and insertion of pace into the backline were at their very best.
Zebo was in superb form for Munster. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
With Dave Kearney having picked up a shoulder injury for Leinster yesterday, it seems likely that Zebo will face less competition to retain his spot on Ireland’s left wing, while men such as Tommy O’Donnell, Keith Earls and James Cronin were all superb in the second half.
That said, Ian Keatley would have been disappointed with his first-half showing, which featured uncharacteristic missed tackles and one or two poor kicks.
Ian Madigan had his bad moments yesterday too for Leinster, meaning Joe Schmidt has two out-halves coming into international camp off the back of less-than-convincing displays.
Earls is back
The 27-year-old only got 44 minute of a run against the Sharks, but his try heavily underlined what an incisive attacking back he is. Bursting onto a superb offload from Ivan Dineen on an intelligent line, Earls went on to turn Luke McLean inside out.
Earls scored a scintillating try for Foley’s side. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
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To shift direction at that pace is no mean feat, and the watching Joe Schmidt will have been impressed. Earls has yet to play for Ireland under the Kiwi head coach, but that will surely change in the coming months.