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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 21:56 GMT
Munster maul Blues
Munster coach Alan Gaffney
Munster (17) 31
Tries: F Sheahan (2), penalty, Mullins, Payne
Cons: O'Gara 3
Blues (3) 10
Try: J Robinson
Pens: Harris
Cons: Harris

Munster scored their third Celtic League win in four games as they put away the Blues at a sodden Musgrave Park.

Frankie Sheahan scored two of his side's four tries as the home team were bolstered by the return of nine Irish internationals.

The home side opted out of several early sightings of the Blues posts and instead to chose to pummel the touchline through returning out-half Ronan O'Gara.

After 11 minutes the Welsh line was crossed as Munster's third line-out in quick succession saw Donnacha O'Callaghan grasp possession and hooker Sheahan rumble over from close range.

O'Gara went left with the conversion and Munster turned the screw, with the visiting scrum under pressure and offering up penalty after penalty.

Blues wing Tom Shanklin and Munster prop Marcus Horan were both sin-binned for separate infringements by Scottish official Iain Ramage before the half hour.

South African wing Shaun Payne deservedly crossed for Munster's second try after 34 minutes, when a pick and drive by David Wallace saw O'Gara transfer wide and centre Jason Holland loop a one-handed pass cleverly for Payne to touch down.

Iestyn Harris got little opportunity to impress in the match
Iestyn Harris had nothing to celebrate on Friday evening

Centre Mike Mullins followed up his own chip to score his fifth try of the competition three minutes later and O'Gara kicked the home side into a 17-0 lead.

Blues out-half Iestyn Harris cut the deficit with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

The visitors plodded on with Harris, Heino Senekal and Canadian Dan Baugh always presenting.

However the home side held too much in reserve with Sheahan notching his second try of the night after 54 minutes, once more on the end of a powerful maul from 10 metres out.

A penalty try 10 minutes later, awarded as the Blues sought to bring down a rampant Munster drive close to their line, put four converted tries between the sides, with O'Gara kicking the extra points.

Blues centre Jamie Robinson got a consolation score six minutes from time but a late rally could not prevent a fifth loss from five away trips this season for David Young's side.

Munster: Jeremy Staunton; Mossie Lawlor, Mike Mullins, Jason Holland, Shaun Payne; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frankie Sheahan, John Hayes, Donnacha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Jim Williams (capt), David Wallace, Anthony Foley.
Replacements: Simon Kerr, Jerry Flanery, Trevor Hogan, Colm McMahon, Eoin Reddan, Rob Henderson, Martin McPhail.

Blues: Rhys Williams; Tom Shanklin, Jamie Robinson, Matt Allen, Craig Morgan; Iestyn Harris, Ryan Powell; John Yapp, Gareth Williams, Darren Crompton, Heino Senekal, Andy Moore, Dan Baugh, Nathan Thomas, Martyn Williams (capt).
Replacements: Ben Evans, Andrew Lewis, Craig Quinnell, Jim Brownrigg, Andrew Moore, Nick Robinson, Donavan van Vuuren.

Referee: I Ramage (Scotland)



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