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Page last updated at 20:32 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 21:32 UK

Munster 36-10 Ospreys

Munster (15) 36
Tries: Warwick, Wallace 2, Leamy, Horgan Cons: O'Gara (4) Pen: O'Gara

Ospreys (10) 10
Try: Hook Con: Hook Pen: Hook

Paul O'Connell and the Munster team with the Magners League trophy

Lions captain celebrates Magners title

Munster underlined their Magners League title-winning credentials with a clinical second-half display to see off spirited Ospreys at Thomond Park.

The hosts led 15-10 at the break thanks to tries from Paul Warwick and David Wallace to James Hook's reply.

Wallace, Denis Leamy and the retiring Anthony Horgan crossed after the break. Ronan O'Gara added four conversions and a penalty.

Hook provided the rest of the visitors' points with a penalty and conversion.

O'Gara and Hook exchanged early penalties and when Keith Earls hacked ahead there was danger for the visitors.

But skipper Ryan Jones used his experience to halt the danger, diving legitimately for the ball and bringing down the 2009 Lions centre, much to the consternation of the home fans.

But the Thomond Park faithful got their wish after 15 minutes, number eight Wallace stealing possession before the ball moved swiftly to the right where Paul Warwick brushed past Ospreys wing debutant David Evans to race over.


O'Gara converted to add to the party atmosphere, but the hosts went on to commit a glut of uncharacteristic mistakes.

That allowed the Ospreys to take the initiative and, rarely for visitors to Limerick, they were able to dominate territory for long periods.

Just when it seemed the visitors pressure would amount to nothing, they claimed a controversial try.

Centre Jonathan Spratt was halted and as O'Gara ripped the ball from his hands, Hook gathered to fend off his opposite number and dart away as Munster's players expressed their anger.

Hook converted to level the scores, but the whole incident merely served to fire the home side.

They regained the lead swiftly, Wallace profiting from an advancing scrum to drive over after 37 minutes to leave the home side leading 15-10 at the break.

There was more of the same to savour for the capacity crowd as Denis Leamy powered over from close range with the help of his friends. O'Gara converted.

That 48th-minute score was followed three minutes later by a break-out try, scrum-half Peter Stringer's pass opening up space out wide for Wallace to run in at the corner. O'Gara again converted.

The Ospreys refused to throw in the towel, doubtless spurred on by their 43-9 Heineken Cup quarter-final hammering at the same venue a little over a month earlier.

Munster celebrate the Magners League crown
Paul O'Connell leads the Munster celebrations at Thomond Park

When Wallace was sin-binned for keeping his hands in a ruck too long, the Ospreys had a chance to get back into the game.

But moments later wing Ashley Beck lost the ball under pressure from Paul O'Connell in the act of crossing the line.

And that was O'Connell's last contribution, replaced moments later to a standing ovation as he headed for a summer doing battle as captain of the British and Irish Lions in South Africa.

Ospreys' veteran Kiwi back row Filo Tiatia was then denied by a trailing leg at the corner and despite the disadvantage of being a man down Munster continued to hold firm.

Moreover, the hosts emphasised their title-winning credentials by responding to Ospreys' attacks with a more ruthless approach than the visitors displayed.

Having sent departing hooker Frankie Sheahan into the fray to a warm greeting from the crowd, Munster's faithful had the chance to hail Anthony Horgan's contribution to their cause down the years.

The wing was sent to the line by Kieran Lewis for a score greeted by as loud a reception as O'Connell's departure from the pitch.

Munster coach Tony McGahan:
"I'm delighted for the players - it was a great way to finish the season.

"They've worked very in the competition and to win in front of our own supporters is a great way to finish.

"While we're disappointed with the Heineken Cup we will come back stronger next season."

Munster captain Paul O'Connell:
"The Magners League is a fabulous reflection of a squad as a whole.

"In the Heineken Cup, if you make the final you have nine games and you have all your internationals available for most of the matches.

"With the Magners League it's a real mix of the squad and it is a reflection of the consistency of the squad and the depth of talent coming through in the province.

"We're delighted to win it and to have won it a few games ago."

Ospreys coaching boss Scott Johnson:
"They're [Ospreys] competitive at all levels. They're a fraction off. If you looked at today [against Munster] the rub of the green again didn't go with them.

"I don't think that score was reflective of that game and that competition so they're not that far off.

"The reality is we've got a bit to work on, but I think we've got a good enough player base to say we can work on and get a good side.

"And I think if we do our part the rest of the results will look after themselves."

Munster: Warwick; Howlett, Earls, Mafi, Dowling; O'Gara, Stringer; Pucciariello, Fogarty, Buckley, O'Driscoll, O'Connell, Leamy, Ronan, Wallace.
Replacements: Lewis for Earls (72), Horgan for Dowling (72), Prendergast for Stringer (74), T Ryan for Pucciariello (62), Sheahan for Fogarty (68), O'Callaghan for O'Connell (62), O'Sullivan for Wallace (72).

Ospreys: Owen; Beck, Parker, Spratt, D Evans; Hook, Nutbrown; James, Hibbard, Griffiths, Gough, Lloyd, R Jones, Holah, Tiatia.
Replacements: Biggar for Owen (57), Wells for Nutbrown (75), D Jones for James (52), Baldwin for Hibbard (73), Mitchell for Griffiths (62), Tandy for Gough (66), Kelly for Tiatia (75).

Att: 20,000

Ref: Peter Allan (SRU).

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see also
Confusion over Nutbrown role
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Munster seal Magners League title
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Magners Celtic League 2008/9
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RaboDirect Pro12 table
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