Luke Marshall urges Ulster to make amends for Thomond Park humbling against Munster
Thomond Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Ulster over the last decade.
Dan McFarland’s side travel to Limerick on Saturday for the first Irish derby of the season having only beaten Munster only once in the league on their own turf in the last 10 attempts, losing eight time and drawing the other.
However, Ulster did enjoy once of their greatest victories in recent times at the Limerick venue when they toppled Munster 22-16 in the 2012 Heineken Cup quarter final.
Ulster go into Saturday’s clash - the last before the Pro14 takes a two week break for the Champions Cup - with four wins out of five games and sit second in Conference A, five points behind Leinster.
Munster have also four wins from five and they top Conference B after a bonus point win at the Cardiff Blues.
Ulster suffered their heaviest ever defeat at Thomond Park last season going down 64-7 and conceding nine tries but centre Luke Marshall is hoping that will inspire the team when battle commences at Saturday evening.
“Last season is definitely one that we’d like to forget,” he said.
“Although Dan’s already mentioned last season in the changing room as a lead-in, we definitely owe them one and even for our own pride we need to put in a better shift than we did last year down there.
“It’s a good one to look forward to, and I’m sure they’ll be well up for it; I’m sure they’ll get a few internationals back in the fold, so we’re looking forward to it, another big test.
“We’ve some making up to do from last year.”
Ulster have won their last two games at home to Cardiff and Zebre but the Ireland centre is disappointed that in both games Ulster failed to get a bonus point.
“When you know you’re capable of something, it is frustrating, we’re doing the hard things well,” he said.
“I think we’re creating things, our shape’s good, it’s just the easy thing, finishing them off - that’s what we’ll keep working at, but we know we’ll have to take our opportunities in the next few weeks against some top opposition.”
Ulster failed to get a fourth try against Zebre last Friday despite the Italians playing a quarter of the game with 14 men after two yellow cards.
Marshall said: “We definitely had our opportunities, we had a couple good line-breaks and got close to their line; in those conditions there are times where you want to spin it wide but the rain is pelting down and there’s a nagging voice in your head saying ‘keep it tight’, and that’s easier to defend against close to your line.
“That probably didn’t help us, but we definitely had the chances to take the bonus point, so that’s disappointing.”
Marshall kept his strong early season form going with a man of the match performance against Zebre.
“I feel good, I feel sharp, that’s possibly as sharp as I’ve felt since I was a youngster,” he said.
“I’m enjoying the season so far, for me, it’s about keeping fit and keep playing at the same level, obviously we’ve had a few injuries so we need everyone as fit as we can.”