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Saturday, 19 October, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Munster edge Perpignan
Munster number 8 Anthony Foley had another good game in the Heineken Cup
Anthony Foley who celebrated his 100th cap for Munster
Munster 30-21 Perpignan



Munster finally got their Heineken Cup campaign up and running with a narrow victory over Perpignan at Thomond Park on Saturday.

Following a mauling by Gloucester the previous week, last year's beaten finalists stormed back to form.

However, they will look back at the errors that made the game a much closer contest than the scoreline showed.

Munster tried vainly to get clear of their French visitors in the first half.

Munster's Kiwi-born centre Jason Holland
Jason Holland set up Munster's opening try

But each time they appeared to stretch clear, lack of concentration allowed Perpignan to claw back the deficit.

Ronan O'Gara put the home side ahead in the third minute with an opening penalty before Perpignan overturned the lead five minutes later.

A trademark drive by the pack set up a series of rucks and it was centre Christophe Manas who crashed through at the posts for Benoit Bellot to convert.

But with their pack driving and recycling brilliantly, Munster drew ahead with a couple of converted tries.

First, a break and some slick handling by Jason Holland allowed John Kelly to dive over in the corner in the 15th minute.

Six minutes later a training-ground move at a line-out saw Alan Quinlan storm around the front to go over.

But in the 26th minute, Perpignan stormed back when Holland lost possession deep in opposition territory.

  Match details:
Munster 30 (17)
Tries: Kelly, Quinlan
Pens: O'Gara 3
Cons: O'Gara 2
Perpignan 21 (14)
Tries: Manas, Edmunds, Laharrague
Cons: Bellot 2, Edmunds
Pens: Bellot 2
Yellow card: Peillard, Moreno, Deniell

The ball fell loose to Perpignan's Australian full-back Manny Edmunds who sprinted 70 metres to the try line with Bellot again converting.

Munster pulled out a gap on the resumption with another O'Gara penalty and conversion of prop John Hayes's try in the 55th minute.

The Irish fly-half stretched that lead with his third penalty in the 70th minute, but once again Perpignan threatened to come back.

After another Munster mistake near the French line, replacement Nicolas Laharrague swooped on a loose ball to race 80 metres unaccompanied to the lone.

Edmunds converted, but Munster were able to close the game down to stop the Frenchmen from providing a storming finish.


Munster: D Crotty; J Kelly, M Mullins, J Holland, M Lawlor; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, M Galwey, M O'Driscoll, J Williams, capt, A Quinlan, A Foley.
Replacements: S Kerr, G Blaney, E Halvey, D Leamy, M Prendergast, K Keane, J O'Neill.

Perpignan: M Edmonds, Bomati, Couttet, Manas, Cermeno, Bellot, Basset, Peillard, Moreno, Mas, Alvarez Kairelis, Daniell, Mallier, Goutta, capt, Murphy.
Replacements: Rofes, De Besombes, Debaty, Deroeux, Laharrague, Sid, Marty.

Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
RTE Sport talk to Munster's Alan Quinlan
"It was important the crowd got behind us"

Heineken Cup

Parker Pen Cup

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