Dineen wins it for Munster over Ulster

Ivan Dineen’s try in the final minute secured a 6-16 Magners League victory for Munster over Ulster at Ravenhill on Friday night.


Ulster were dominant in the first half but they could only get 3 points ahead by half time after two penalties from South African Ruan Pienaar.


The 23-year-old Dineen, a sub Academy player with the province, capitalised on a handling error from Ian Humphreys to gobble up possession and dash in under the posts for the only try of a forwards-dominated derby.


Paul Warwick added the conversion with the last kick of the game, leaving the current Magners League leaders to celebrate their first win at Ravenhill since March 2007.


Scrum half Ruan Pienaar kicked two penalties for Ulster, but blotted his copybook by missing a seemingly straightforward 77th minute kick which would have tied up the game at 9-9.


Indeed, for all their possession and territory, Ulster failed to score from the 16th minute onwards.

 

Munster’s watertight defence won it for them in the end, and their forwards punched crucial holes when opportunities arose – as shown by the maul in the lead-up to Warwick’s third successful penalty, 11 minutes from the finish.

It was fourth versus first at the Belfast venue, Ulster seeking to bounce back from a disappointing outing in Edinburgh and Munster looking to make it a winning night for one of their stalwarts, scrum half Peter Stringer.


Leading the team out, Stringer became only the third player to make 200th competitive appearances for Munster, with only Anthony Foley and Alan Quinlan beating him to the milestone.


An understrength Munster side travelled north, with injuries and international commitments leaving coach Tony McGahan with a depleted squad.


Ulster were also without some of their frontliners, most notably the Ireland-tied Rory Best, Paddy Wallace and Stephen Ferris. The injured Darren Cave and Simon Danielli also missed out.


Munster, playing into the wind, knocked on from the kick-off and Ulster enjoyed a territorial advantage during a cagey opening quarter, the highlight of which was a surging run through the middle by centre Nevin Spence.


It was a rare defensive lapse by Munster. Ian Whitten took a straight line and his deft offload sent the onrushing Spence weaving towards the visitors’ 22.

 

Ulster kept the move going and winger David McIlwaine was stopped close to the left corner.

After a quick recycle, out-half Humphreys threaded a kick over to the right where Mark McCrea lurked. The ball beat him and bounced out of play, but Ulster were playing with a penalty advantage and Pienaar landed the resulting kick for a seventh minute lead.


The hosts’ good work was immediately undone. They coughed up possession at the restart, with Robbie Diack and stand-in captain Johann Muller getting in each other’s way.

 

Munster’s forwards built through the phases, winning a penalty close to the 22 which Warwick dispatched for 3-3.

Space was at a premium and an ill-advised kick from flanker Quinlan inside his 22 resulted a swift turnover for Ulster, with openside Willie Faloon wrestling his way forward. Humphreys ferried a long pass out to the right for Adam D’Arcy, who was grounded short of the try-line by Denis Hurley’s ‘man and ball’ tackle.


Ulster kept pressing in and around the Munster 22 and after Quinlan was penalised for not rolling away after the tackle, Pienaar restored his side’s lead in the 16th minute.


Some scrappy passages of play ensued, with neither side being able to find their rhythm. There were glimpses of quality, an angled run from Niall Ronan drawing the visiting fans’ approval.


Stringer was as busy as ever, willing his forwards on. He orchestrated a counter attack on the left with an instinctive kick, but play was called back for a kn

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