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14/10/2013


British & Irish Cup – Pool 4
 
Munster 39 - Stirling County 8 
 
Kevin Robertson reports from Bandon RFC
 

Stirling County began their British & Irish Cup campaign with a visit to crack Irish provincial side Munster, who included no fewer than six players with Heineken Cup experience in their side. With injuries affecting selection, County started with a young centre pairing of Robbie Hogg and Archie Russell in the backs, with second row Tom Ryder the only professional allocated to the Bridgehaugh side. Elite development player Adam Ashe made his first appearance for County at No.8, and Will Bordrill started for the first time.
 
Munster started at a furious pace, and scored their opening try within 2 minutes, when centre Cuan Bohane broke through the middle channel before offloading to Sean Dougall to score under the posts, converted by stand-off Rory Scannell.

Munster kept County pinned back in the early stages, but County stood firm and on 12 minutes Stuart Edwards reduced the leeway to 7-3 with a 40-metre penalty after Munster were penalised for playing the ball in an offside position.
 
Jonny Hope temporarily replaced Archie Russell who suffered a blood injury.  AJ
McFarlane then prevented a certain score with a last-ditch try-saving tackle in
the corner.
 
Munster restored their seven-point lead with a penalty scored by Scanell after 20 minutes when County were adjudged to have come round on the wrong side. Three minutes later a County attack broke down in the home 22, and a kick ahead by Munster full-back Ronan O’Mahony was followed up by right winger Andrew Conway who won the chase to the line and touched down for a try converted by Scannell, stretching the home side's lead to 17-3.
 
Munster missed a penalty attempt at goal, before they scored their third try when left winger Darren Sweetnam squeezed over in the corner.  The conversion was missed, giving Munster a 22-3 half-time lead.
 
County brought on Alex Moffat for Reyner Kennedy and Matt Larson for Ruiraidh
Leishman at the break. Two minutes into the second-half, Munster scored their fourth and bonus-point try from a line-out catch and drive into mid-field, finished off by Billy Holland who scored under the posts, converted by Scannell increasing the Irish province's lead to
29-3.
 
County fought back and from an attacking scrum on the Munster 22, the ball was moved wide from McFarlane to Edwards who's pass put Hogg in the clear for the inside centre to sprint through a gap in the home defence to score the visitors' only try in the left corner, and reduce the deficit to 29-8, with the conversion attempt missed.
 
County brought on Kris Burney, Jamie Swanson, Shaun MacDonald and Jonny Hope replacing Jamie Bhatti, Adam Ashe, Struan Robertson and Graham Lindsay respectively.
The open play switched from end to end, before Munster struck again with a try on 65 minutes scored by O’Mahony, following a searing break from half-way by Dave O’Callaghan; the conversion was missed.
 
County continued to attack and were unfortunate with seven minutes remaining when a loose pass went to ground within the home side's 22 and the turnover was picked up by Ivan Dineen who sped 80 metres before offloading to the supporting O’Mahony to score the home-side’s final try; the conversion was missed. Craig Robertson replaced Archie Russell, and County were unlucky not to score in the final minutes of a thoroughly entertaining match.
 
Final Score: Munster 39 - Stirling County 8.

Scorers: Munster - Tries: Dougall, Conway, Sweetnam, Holland, R. O'Mahony (2) Convs. Scanell (3), Pen. Scannell.
Stirling County - Try: Hogg. Pen.: Edwards.
 
Munster: R. O’Mahony, Conway, Dineen, Bohane, Sweetnam, R. Scannell, Sheridan; Cotter, N. Scannell, P. Ryan, Holland, Foley, O’Callaghan, Dougall, Buckley. Replacements: Abbott, J Ryan, O’Shea, B. O’Mahoney, Haugh, Lyons, Kenneally.
 
Stirling County:  Addison, Lindsay, Russell, Hogg, Hughes, Edwards, McFarlane; Bhatti, Kennedy, Hutton, Ryder, Leishman, Ryder, S. Robertson, Bordill, Ashe.  Replacements:  Moffat, Burney, Larson, McDonald, Swanson, Hope, C. Robertson.
 
Referee: A Jackson (RFU).          . 
 
County played well in this encounter, matching the physicality and intensity of the professional Munster outfit, who were clinical in the execution of their scoring opportunities. Head Coach Graeme Young will look for more of this level of commitment and effort from his charges in the next British & Irish Cup on Saturday (19th October) when County entertain English championship side Plymouth Albion – kick-off at Bridgehaugh is 3pm.  See Club website for full match preview.
 
Thanks also to County’s main sponsor Ondeo Industrial Solutions and all others who continue to support the Club.
 
Rugby Round-up:
 
County’s 2nd XV beat Boroughmuir 13 – 12 in a close match at Meggatland in the RBS National Reserve League One.  
 
Next Saturday (19th October) the 3rd XVs play Dundee University Medics in the RBS Caledonia League Division 4 Midlands - kick-off in Dundee is 3pm.
 
County’s Women’s team gained their first win of the season in some style, thumping      Watsonians’ Ladies 106 – 0 at Myreside in the RBS Women’s Premier League.  Next Sunday (19th October), the Women are at home to Melrose – kick-off at Bridgehaugh is 2pm.
 
Members are reminded that there is a pre-match hospitality lunch on be Saturday 19th October before the British & Irish Cup match between County and Plymouth Albion.  To reserve your place please contact Alastair Cunningham or the Club Office on 01786-478866.
 
Full membership of Stirling County RFC provides free admission into all home RBS Premiership matches and 50% off admission price for British & Irish Cup matches at Bridgehaugh.  Membership forms available on website at: http://www.stirlingcounty-rfc.co.uk/ .
 
Report by Kevin Robertson


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