Red-hot Ulster dismiss Munster to extend unbeaten run

John Cooney scores a try for Ulster against Munster at Kingspan Stadium.
John Cooney scores a try for Ulster against Munster at Kingspan Stadium.
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Ulster made it seven wins from their last eight games in all competitions as they comprehensively dispatched Munster in the Irish Pro14 derby to stretch their unbeaten run at home to 19 matches on Friday night.

Dan McFarland’s side gained revenge for their defeat earlier in the season at Thomond Park and picked up a fifth try-scoring bonus point in six games.

Munster took the lead on 10 minutes, from a scrum in the Ulster 22 Conor Murray put width on the ball to Joey Carbery, the out-half timed his pass for Shane Daly to come onto and the full back smashed through Matty Rea’s tackle before rolling over the line for the game’s opening try, which Carbery converted from a tight angle.

Ulster responded three minutes later, Munster prop Keynan Knox tried to run the ball out of his own 22, Alan O’Connor brought him down and Marty Moore got over the ball to win a penalty and John Cooney slotted the kick over.

Cooney put Ulster in front on 18 minutes, from a scrum in their own half Stuart McCloskey broke down the blindside, the centre released Jacob Stockdale who exposed a gap in the Munster defence, carrying into the 22 before flicking the ball inside for his scrum-half to race under the posts, Cooney converted his own try.

Ulster got their second try on 34 minutes following a sustained period of pressure in the Munster 22.

Following a third penalty Ulster opted for the scrum, No8 Nick Timoney managed to keep possession despite Murray’s presence, captain Iain Henderson drove close to the line before the ball was moved back to the right, Luke Marshall flung the ball to Robert Baloucoune and the winger scored his third try in three starts this season with Cooney adding the conversion.

Munster reduced Ulster’s lead at the interval to 17-10 when Carbery landed a penalty with the final kick of the first half.

Ulster increased their advantage three minutes after their restart, from a lineout McCloskey and Reidy had big carries in the Munster 22, Rea came onto a crash ball in midfield was able to dart over unopposed with Cooney converting.

Ulster sealed their bonus point on 57 minutes, from a penalty they went to the corner, the lineout was secured and Reidy had a dart for the line but was stopped short. Another phase was repelled before McCloskey barged his way over with Cooney converting.

Jacob Stockdale got his first try in an Ulster shirt since the Racing 92 game last January.

The Ireland winger intercepted Carbery’s pass on his own 10 metre line and raced clear for Ulster’s fifth try with Cooney adding the extra two points.

Hooker Niall Scannell got Munster’s second try on 66 from a driving maul with Carbery’s conversion going over via the upright.

Munster had replacement back row Chris Cloete sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on McCloskey on 73 minutes but Ulster couldn’t make their numerical advantage count.

Ulster prop Kyle McCall was sin binned with two minutes remaining for repeated infringements.

Ulster: W Addison, R Baloucoune, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, B Burns, J Cooney, J McGrath, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor, I Henderson, M Rea, S Reidy, N Timoney

Replacements: J Andrew for Herring 72 mins, K McCall for McGrath 62 mins, T O’Toole for Moore 58 mins, D O’Connor for A O’Connor 66 mins, G Jones for Reidy 70 mins, D Shanahan for Burns 63 mins, A Kernohan for Cooney 73 mins, C Gilroy for Marshall 63 mins

Munster:

S Daly, A Conway, S Arnold, R Scannell, K Earls, J Carbery, C Murray, J Loughman, N Scannell, K Knox, F Wycherley, D O’Shea, P O’Mahony, J O’Donoghue, A Botha

Replacements: D Barron for N Scanell 71 mins, D Kilcoyne for Loughman 43 mins, J Ryan for Knox 43 mins, G Coombes for Wycherley 32 mins, J O’Sullivan for Botha 54 mins, N Cronin for Murray 70 mins, D Goggin for Conway 41 mins, C Cloete for O’Shea 62 mins.

Referee: D Jones (Wales).