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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 18:11 GMT
Munster earn sensational win
John Kelly is an Irish international winger
John Kelly (left) scored two of Munster's four tries
Heineken Cup: Pool Two
Munster 33-6 Gloucester



Munster earned a Heineken Cup quarter-final place in sensational style on Saturday by thrashing Gloucester in Limerick.

With a minute of normal time left, Munster, despite producing a superb performance, looked set to be denied on points difference.

But John Kelly's injury-time try allied to Ronan O'Gara's brave conversion ensured that Munster pipped Gloucester for second place in Pool 2 behind winners Perpignan.

After both sides had looked lively early on, O'Gara opened Munster's account with an eighth-minute penalty after Henry Paul had failed to deal with the fly-half's Garryowen.

It was a nightmare performance - our lineouts and scrums didn't function

Gloucester coach Nigel Melville

The Munster lead lasted only three minutes with O'Gara's opposite number Ludovic Mercier levelling from 35 metres out.

The home side looked certain to score the first try of the match in the 14th minute after a superb break by Mike Mullins but Anthony Foley was held up inches short of the line.

Gloucester's Peter Buxton produced a big tackle on Peter Stringer
Peter Stringer is upended

The Irish then forced a series of penalties near the Gloucester line but, with tries needed, O'Gara rejected the option of taking the simple three points.

Munster's wait for a try ended when a darting Peter Stringer break enabled Ireland winger Kelly to dive over in the corner.

Gloucester recovered well to pin Munster deep in their own 22 and the pressure yielded a second successful penalty for Mercier in the 29th minute.

Munster responded by monopolising the ball, and only solid Gloucester defending kept the home side out.
Match details:
Munster 33 (16)
Tries: Kelly 2, Lawlor, O'Driscoll
Pen: O'Gara 3
Con: O'Gara 2

Gloucester 6 (6)
Pens: Mercier 2

In the 37th minute, however, a Gloucester transgression gave Munster another penalty in front of the posts and O'Gara converted.

And in first-half injury-time, Gloucester's Peter Buxton was sin-binned for an offence in a ruck.

With Gloucester a man down, Munster scored a second try when Jason Holland's deft dink into space enabled Mossie Lawlor to touch down.

Munster maintained the pressure after the break and saw Stringer and O'Gara denied by last-ditch tackles.

O'Gara accepted a simple three points 10 minutes into the second half as Munster maintained their dominance.

We knew what we had to do today, and it came off

Munster captain Jim Williams
The prospect of an astonishing Munster qualification began to look possible in the 56th minute with Jason Holland's kick behind the Gloucester defence allowing Mick O'Driscoll to score.

Azim sin-binned

O'Gara's fine conversion from near the touchline extended Munster's lead to 26-6.

Munster now knew that one more converted try would be enough to ensure qualification, and they received a further boost in the 64th minute when hooker Olivier Azim became the second Gloucester forward to be sin-binned.

But, inevitably, nerves began to affect the Munster performance and with a minute left their lead remained an insufficient 20 points.

But the home side made a desperate final charge towards the Gloucester line and, after Stringer had been held up, the ball eventually came to John Kelly who crossed for the all-important fourth try.

With the conversion needed to ensure a 27-point margin, O'Gara showed admirable nerve to slot over the high-pressure kick.


Munster: Staunton, Kelly, Mullins, Holland, Lawlor, O'Gara, Stringer, Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, O'Driscoll, O'Callaghan, Williams (capt), Foley, Quinlan.
Replacements: Cahill, Blaney, Galwey, Leamy, Halvey, Prendergast, Malone, Keane, McMahon.

Gloucester: Paul, Simpson-Daniel, Fanolua, Todd, Delport, Mercier, Gomarsall, Roncero, Azam, Vickery, Fidler, Cornwell, Boer, Buxton, Paramore.
Replacements: Stuart-Smith, Amor, Beim, Collins, Deacon, Hazell, Eustace.

Referee: Joel Jutge (France)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Man-of-the-match, Munster's Anthony Foley
"They felt the pressure of Thomond Park"

Heineken Cup

Parker Pen Cup

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EUROPEAN STATISTICS
See also:

17 Jan 03 | European
16 Jan 03 | European
12 Jan 03 | European
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