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Last Updated: Friday, 2 January, 2004, 21:07 GMT
Munster edge past Connacht

CELTIC LEAGUE
Connacht (0) 0
Munster (0) 3
Pen: O'Gara   

Ronan O'Gara's 67th minute penalty was the only score as Munster recorded their second away win of this season's Celtic League in Athlone.

O'Gara's 67th-minute struck the decisive kick from just inside the Connacht 22 after the home side were deemed to have gone over the top of the visitors' ruck.

As a result, Munster leapfrog over Connacht in the Celtic League standings.

Connacht, with wind advantage, controlled much of the possession early on but crucially could score.

Eric Elwood predictably pummelled the Munster touchlines inside the first quarter, missing the game's opening chance on 11 minutes with a penalty attempt from the right touchline.

The only other chance of the first period fell again to the Galwegians' veteran whose 35-metre effort faded just to the left of the Munster uprights.

Proved costly

Munster's forward strength took effect in the second half with an Anthony Foley drive into the 22 seemingly giving O'Gara a first sight of the posts.

But the Irish international opted for touch and it proved costly as Connacht managed to steal the subsequent set-piece.

O'Gara did have a sight of goal four minutes later but his 14-metre effort surprisingly flashed across the face of the posts.

But O'Gara's effort 13 minutes from time, following another Foley pick-and-drive, gave the visitors the ideal boost ahead of their back-to-back Heineken Cup showdowns with Gloucester.


Connacht: M McHugh; M Mostyn, D Yapp, T Allnutt, C McPhilliips, E Elwood, M Walls; D McFarland, B Jackman, A Clarke, D Browne, A Farley, M Swift, P Neville, J O'Sullivan.
Replacements: J Fogarty, P Bracken, M McCarthy, M Lacey, C O'Loughlin, D Hewitt, T Robinson.

Munster: S Payne; J Kelly, M Mullins, R Henderson, A Horgan, R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, G McIlwham, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, J Williams, D Wallace, A Foley.
Replacements: J Blaney, S Kerr, S Keogh, D Pusey, E Reddan, J Staunton, J Holland.

Referee: A Rolland




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