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County get good Workout against Munster


County get good Workout against Munster

British & Irish Cup : Pool 4 – match sponsored by United Auctions
Stirling County 5 - Munster 31
Kevin Robertson reports from Bridgehaugh
Stirling County concluded their British & Irish Cup campaign with a competitive performance against Munster. The full-time professional Irish side proved too strong for County on a heavy pitch and the visitors (who won the Cup in 2012) progress to the quarter-finals of the cross-border competition. Despite the scoreline, the Bridgehaugh team will take a lot of positives out of this match as they prepare for next Saturday’s (25th January) crucial Premiership encounter at home to Hawick.
County included three Edinburgh Rugby players in their starting line-up, scrum-half Sean Kennedy, and second rowers Perry Parker (below) and Dimitri Basilia, as Head Coach Graeme Young rotated his squad.
Munster put County under pressure from the kick-off and missed an early kick at goal after the home side were penalised for collapsing a driving maul. The visitors went ahead after 8 minutes when Ronan O’Mahony collected a chip kick over the top from Barry O’Mahony, and the full-back sprinted over the line to score the opening try, converted by Johnny Holland, to go 0 – 7 ahead. Munster missed another penalty kick at goal on 26 minutes when the home defence strayed offside.
County then failed to take a clear try-scoring opportunity, when following a succession of forward drives within the visitors 22, the ball was moved swiftly across field from left to right, but the final pass wasn’t held with the try line beckoning.
Half-time Score: Stirling County 0 – Munster 7.
Munster upped the tempo at the start of the second half, and Johnny Holland finished off a flowing move which stretched the County rearguard, when he found a gap close to the posts to score a try which he converted, extending Munster’s lead to 0 - 14 after 47 minutes.  Three minutes later Munster went further ahead with CJ Stander touching down following a 20-metre drive by the visiting pack. Gerry Hurley converted to take the score to 0 – 21.  Straight from the re-start, Munster moved the ball to the left-wing and Darren Sweetman ran 70 metres to score the visitors’ fourth and bonus-point try in the left corner. The conversion was missed, giving Munster a 26-point lead after 51 minutes. On the hour mark Gerard van den Heever strolled 40 metres through the County defence to score an unconverted try in the right corner, putting the visitors 0 – 31 ahead.
County used all their bench in the second period, and replacement stand-off Fraser Lyle rounded off the scoring with a consolation try in the 65th minute, when he picked up the ball 40 metres out and weaved his way through gaps in the Munster defence to score an unconverted try in the left corner.
County had the better of the final quarter, and came close to scoring again following a succession of attacking 5-metres scrums, which saw Munster’s Brian Haugh sin-binned in the final minute.  Earlier County had been reduced to 14 men when Brian Archibald was yellow-carded on 72 minutes for a deliberate knock-on. 
Final Score: Stirling County 5 - Munster 31.

Scorers:  Stirling County – Try: Lyle.         .
Munster – Tries: O’Mahony, Holland, Stander, Sweetman, Van der Heever.   Convs.:   Holland (2), Hurley.       .
Stirling County:  Addison, Lindsay, Gilmour, Archibald, Hughes, Edwards, Kennedy; Bhatti, Moffat (capt.), Mountford, Parker, Deacons, Basilia, McDonald, Swanson.  Replacements:  Burney, Kennedy, Hutton, Dewer, Bordill, McFarlane, Lyle.
Munster: R. O’Mahony, Van den Heever, Bohane, D. Hurley, Sweetnam, J. Holland, G Hurley; Cotter, N. Scannell, Ryan, Nagle, B. Holland, O’Callaghan, B O’Mahony (capt.), Stander. Replacements: Slattery, Horan, O’Shea, Buckley, Haugh, R. Scannell, Kenneally.
Referee: F. Kirby (RFU).            .          . 
County return to domestic matters next Saturday’s (25th January) with a crucial RBS Premiership match at home against Hawick – kick-off at Bridgehaugh is 3pm.  See Club website for full match preview.
Thanks to British & Irish Cup match sponsor United Auctions, and to County’s main sponsor Ondeo Industrial Solutions and all others who continue to support the Club.
Rugby Round-up:  County’s Under-16s Into Semi-Final of National Youth Cup
County’s Under-16s beat Stewartry 39 – 21 at Bridgehaugh in the quarterfinals of the U-16 National Youth Cup. The Under-16s will play  Currie in the semi-final on 2 February at Malleny Park.  In the Under-18 National Youth Cup quarter-final, County’s U-18s narrowly lost 17-18 at home to Biggar. 

County’s Women’s Team finished 5th in the RBS Premier League beating bottom of the table side Watsonians 57 – 5 at Bridgehaugh in their final match of the season.

Next Saturday (25th January) County’s 2ndXV host Stewart’s Melville in the RBS National Reserve League One, and the 3rd XV are at home to Perthshire in RBS Caledonia League Midland Division 4 - both matches at Bridgehaugh kick-off at 2pm.
Members are reminded that the next pre-match hospitality lunch is on Saturday 25th January before the RBS Premiership match between County and Hawick.  To reserve your place please contact Alastair Cunningham or the Club Office on 01786-478866.
Stirling County’s annual fund-raising Race Night on Saturday 25th January is a sell-out.

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