After finding themselves 18-0 down after 14 minutes against Jersey Reds last night in Musgrave Park, Munster A were given little chance of winning their first British and Irish cup in 5 years. Yet Munster responded like true champions to reel in their opponents and secure a 29-28 victory.
Jersey Reds got off to the perfect start in Cork and blitzed Munster in the first 14 minutes, scoring 18 unanswered points. Nick Scott scored a try within the opening minute before Joe Buckle got his sides second minutes later. This was compounded by 8 points from the boot of Callum Sheedy.
Yet Munster got a crucial try before half time to breathe new life into the game. Gavin Combes crossed the whitewash which was converted by David Johnstone to leave the scores 18-7 at the break.
Munster then started the second period like they ended the first, with Kevin O’Byrne dotting down for Munster’s second try. Alex Wotton added the extras to reduce the gap to 18-14.
Yet Jersey responded with a try of their own from Kieran Hardy to further extend their lead, 25-14. To their credit Munster never gave in and pushed hard for their own tries. They were rewarded for their endeavours, scoring two tries in a four minute spell.
With Munster in the lead for the first time, there was still time for more drama. Trailing by a point, Callum Sheedy pushed his side back into the lead with a penalty in the 61st minute.
Munster were not to be denied and secured the game in the 68th minute, with David Johnstone nailing a match-winning penalty for the Province.
MUNSTER ‘A’: Stephen Fitzgerald; Dan Goggin, Sam Arnold, Cian Bohane (capt), Alex Wootton; David Johnston, John Poland; Peter McCabe, Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, Mark Chisholm, Darren O’Shea, Gavin Coombes, Conor Oliver, Robin Copeland. Replacements: Duncan Casey, Liam O’Connor, Rory Burke, Fineen Wycherley, Sean O’Connor, Abrie Griesel, Greg O’Shea.
JERSEY REDS: Ross Adair; George Watkins, Jordan Davies, Apakuki Ma’afu, Nick Scott; Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Jake Woolmore, Joe Buckle, Simon Kerrod, James Voss, Pierce Phillips, James Freeman (capt), Gary Graham, Nick Haining. Replacements: Nick Selway, Sean McCarthy, Jake Armstrong, Uili Kolo’ofa’i, Max Argyle; Joel Dudley, Lewis Robling.
REFEREE: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)