Munster win in the U.S
Setanta Challenge Cup
U.S.A 22 Munster 46
Munster under the new management of Tony McGahan saw his charges play and win their first match of the season in the sweltering temperatures at the Rentschler Field, Hartford ,Connecuit . Setanta Sports showed the game live on this side of the Atlantic.Coverage began with a rendition of the American National Anthem for the U.S.A Rugby Side.This match for the U.S team is part of their three year plan to improve the national side in time for the next Rugby World Cup, a team made up of one third semi-professionals who also hold down day jobs,one third college students and one third professional who play their Rugby overseas .Rugby in the U.S is very much down the list of popular Sports after American Football,Basketball,Baseball ,Ice Hockey,Soccer has even made inroads in such a vast country.Rugby is increasing its popularity slowly through the advent of satellite TV where it can reach a wider global audience.
Munster see this tour as a good intense workout and PR exercise and why not as they are the current European Rugby Champions.Their new season begins in three weeks time with a Magners League fixture away to Edinburgh .Munster rested several of their players who played in the European Final ,this gave a chance for others to stake their claim for a place in a first starting fifteen for the upcoming season.Keith Earls(Young Munster) was in exceptional form and made several excellent runs throughout the match,this young Earls kid is good,he is everywhere as described by the American Commentator who often drifted to use language associated with their gridiron game ,reference to Tony Buckley 290 pounds its like been hit by a truck.
The U.S began well and went three nil up until i lost reception ,which seems to be a common problem i encounter a lot with Setanta these days , especially with the bad weather and I having some very large trees surrounding me perhaps that’s the problem also….(or perhaps i should splash out on a HD Tv as advised by a yuppie neighbour .)
Munster were trailing 8 -3 on the return of the picture from Hartford,I became envious watching all those supporters in their Red Munster Shirts basking in that Sun and sipping away on those cool pints of Beer,torture I say….
“Sun ” that is something that has failed to turn up here in Ireland for 2008 Summer,Autumn is drifting the same way weather wise and it’s back to school next week.Munster upped the tempo and soon the lead ,some good work by John O Sullivan(great to see him back the Garryowen/Kerryman after an injury nighmare spell spent watching on the sidelines )Mafi crossed over on 23 mins,converted by Warwick.10 -8 to Munster.Billy Holland made it 17 -8 on 31 with Warwick converting.A well worked move at the end of the first half led the U.S scoring with Stanfield to make it 20 -15 to Munster.
The Second half ,Munster made up to eight changes ,Frankie Sheahan and Barry Murphy were two notable introductions and they contributed two tries seach …Sheahan on 48 min and again on 60 mins.Manning converting.Barry Murphy( UlBohemians )scored his two tries on 70 and 83 mins.Malefa intercepted a pass to score a consolation for the U.S on 61 Mins.
Mick O Driscoll picked up the first Trophy of the season for Munster at the end The Setanta Challenge Cup.For the U.S National team Scott Johnson has a lot of work to do ,it’s work in progress for the team to reach the levels of fitness and intensity assocaited with National Sides.http://www.usarugby.org/default.asp
Munster Rugby website is http://www.munsterrugby.ie/3_8.php