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Ulster Bounce Back

jmcconnell 4 Nov 2004

Ulster kept their bid for Celtic League glory on track at Ravenhill with a four-try, bonus-point, victory over Munster.

A devastating second-half performance sewed the seeds of Ulster’s success as the hosts were able to almost score at will and thrive on Munster errors.

All four tries came in the final quarter with Scott Young’s 74th-minute effort being the pick of the bunch after Ulster swept downfield from their own 22.

Ulster opened their account with an Adam Larkin penalty after six minutes but Munster levelled matters eight minutes later through a Mossie Lawlor strike which came from a rare foray into his opponents’ 22.

However, the home side extended their lead with two more Larkin penalties to make it at 9-3 but a missed long-range Larkin penalty after 26 minutes was followed by a rare Munster attack and when Ulster were penalised Lawlor slotted his second penalty.

Ulster hit back but Paul Shields was tackled short of the line and then, immediately afterwards, Ronan McCormack knocked on with the line at his mercy.

In injury-time Bryn Cunningham’s drop-goal and Larkin’s fifth penalty attempt both sailed wide.

Larkin made amends three minutes after the interval to make it 12-6 but a third miss from the penalty kicker finally sparked Ulster into life and scored two tries in as many minutes.

The first arrived just before the hour when Lawlor lost the ball and Paul Steinmetz led the charge upfield, offloading to Shane Stewart who found replacement Paddy Wallace on his shoulder to run in, although Larkin completely miscued the attempted conversion.

Neil McMillan then charged over after 61 minutes and David Wallace added the points to put the home side 24-6 up but that lead was quickly extended when replacement hooker Matt Sexton got on the back of a maul for a third try, again converted by Wallace.

The bonus point duly arrived six minutes from time when another Munster attack broke down under the Ulster posts. Scott Young snaffled the ball and combined with Wallace and Matt Mustchin to finish the move off at the other end of the field.

Replacement scrum half-Frank Murphy’s 79th-minute try was mere consolation for the bedraggled visitors.

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