WATCH: van Graan and O’Mahony speak after “brilliant occasion for Irish rugby”

Munster’s first clash with the reigning European and Pro 14 champions Leinster ended in defeat on Saturday with a 30-22 loss inflicted on the men in red. Despite the scoreline, Munster can feel aggrieved in a number of officiating calls and looked bright against the form team in Europe throughout the game. 

Speaking after the game, Munster Head Coach, Johann van Graan paid his respects to a deserving Leinster side who demonstrated just how deadly they can be when given a chance. He acknowledged the decisions he felt that went against his side but was quick to also point out mistakes from his players that cost his side in the end.

“First you have to give credit to the opposition. We were beaten by the better team today unfortunately. I thought it was a brilliant occasion for Irish rugby. The two teams went at each other for 80 minutes and unfortunately certain calls went against our team. That being said, with five minutes to go we conceded a penalty which took the game to eight points and made it impossible for us to get back into the game.”

The game itself was a good gauge at where Munster find themselves at this moment in time. Leinster native Tadgh Beirne once again impressed and crossed the whitewash in the first half. Dan Goggin justified his selection in midfield, with another noteworthy performance this season. 

Most of the attention however, was focused on Joey Carberry who was returning to Leinster for the first time since his summer move to Munster. The out-half, who left the province in search of more game time was instrumental in all Munster did well and has adjusted to his new surroundings excellently. Van Graan says that nerves of facing his old team didn’d phase the cool out half.

“He was the same as he has every single week. He’s been the same since the first day he arrived, calm and collected, good in his decision making, clear and concise in his communication. He really played well tonight as every week.

For captain Peter O’Mahony, it was a frustrating evening. As part of a pack that looked to have the better of their Leinster counterparts, Munster found themselves on the receiving end of a number of questionable decisions. 

Yet, they refused to give in, despite all obstacles that faced them. With the resumption of the Champions Cup this weekend, Munster will need a similar spirit and determination if they are to improve on last years semi final berth. O’Mahony spoke at the fundamentals that his side try to stick to after a setback in the game.

“You go back to your process to what you have to do at the kick off. You go to your process of what you’ve practised and that’s exactly what we did. We knew we needed to apply pressure to them and get back into their half and hold the ball. We (know) we can break down teams when we hold the ball.”

Check out the full interview with van Graan and O’Mahony on our YouTube channel! 

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Jack Neville

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