Another great European weekend for the Irish provinces!!!!
In a compelling & bruising contest, Munster beat Exeter 9-7 to advance into their 18thEuropean Quarter final. Andrew Conway always threatening in attack and defence brought an added intensity to this game. Dan Goggin bounced into the game on the 57thminute bringing about him an energy that was required to help see out the game.
Ulster saw off Leicester 14-13 in what was a game of two halves. Ulster will be disappointed by their first half performance but will be buoyed by the resilience and fight they showed to get back into the game. This was led by the forwards and the Marty Moore’s try ignited something in Ulster. Marty produced another huge shift for 76 minutes in the front row. Jordi Murphy gave another tireless performance for the full 80, really standing tall for Ulster at key times in the game. Nick Timoney entered the game on the 34thminute and as usual provided a robust and aggressive performance.
It was another great Connacht performance which saw them beat Bordeaux Begles 33-27 Matt Healy showed all his attacking threat and provided 2 tries for Connacht, his first in the 9thminute where he showed great footwork and a much needed 2ndtry on the 70thminute. Darragh Leader showed he equally as comfortable anywhere across the back three, this week finding himself on the wing & had another solid game. Eoghan Masterson came on 58 minute and he asked questions of Bordeaux.
Leinster only had to hit third gear to comfortably beat Wasps 37 -19. With the wealth of back-row talent in Leinster, Rhys Ruddock’s name is surely one of the first games on the team-sheet. The captain again played the full game with vigour and composure. The level of consistency in his performances is difficult to find, but time and time again he performs. Garry Ringrose has been the best centre in this competition and again showed all his value, not just did he provide a try, he is the defensive glue in the backline and always adds a spark in attack. Andrew Porter came on in the 52th minute & his displays show he could easily be on the starting team. James Tracy and Noel Reid came on in the final quarter. James continued to provide go forward ball for Leinster. Noel Reid scored a great try, he started it and after a great support line he finished the try off, he also added the extras and late in the game added a penalty.
Over in the Championship Peter Lydon produced a Man of the Match performance in Ealing Trailfinders win over London Scottish, he finished with 3 conversions and a penalty. Jerry Sexton was leader in chief in Jersey Reds great win over Mark Flanagan and his Bedford Blue team. Willie Ryan was in involved in Doncaster’s six try win over Hartpury.
Joy Neville was in the middle for a very one-sided game between Northampton Saints and Timasaru Saracens in the European Challenge Cup.
Dave McIntyre was lead commentator for the Munster V Exeter clash on Virgin Media One. Tomas O’Leary was also on duty for this game on BT Sports.
Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe won the Beat 102-103FM Sports Star of the Year after a fantastic 2018. Looking forward to what 2019 will bring.
Sarah Rowe showed very well in her first ever game of Aussie Rules where she bagged two goals in Collingwood’s friendly before the league starts next week.