Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Magners League: Munster fail to emerge unscathed

Jerry Flannery is bracing himself for bad news today when the details of his latest injury breakdown are disclosed.

The injury-prone 32-year-old cut a dejected figure as he was helped from the field 28 minutes into his Munster comeback during Saturday's victory over Ulster at Thomond Park.

The source of concern was once again a calf muscle, although not the same one which has curtailed his involvement for much of this season already.

Flannery was taken for a scan yesterday and the results should be known by today.

Speaking after the match, coach Tony McGahan gave no indication as to the severity of the situation, but confirmed that it was a fresh injury and not a recurrence of his old problem.

"He's quite upset and everybody is feeling for him," said McGahan. "He's worked really hard to get back to where he was, and there's no doubt that he'll get back from this one as well."

Flannery's injury was the biggest blight on an otherwise satisfactory night for Munster, who extended their lead at the top of the Magners League table to nine points.

A bonus-point victory had looked unlikely in the first half as Ulster showed all the attacking promise en route to an early 10-point lead.

TJ Anderson scored a well-worked try and Ulster could have been out the gate by half-time had the outstanding Paul Marshall managed to creep over the line following a close-range snipe shortly after.

Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin cited that moment as the turning point in the match. "If it had gone to 17-3 then we might have had a chance," he said.

"But Munster came back strongly as they always do; they are the masters of doing the simple things really well. They put you under ferocious pressure, they choke you, and they put us away in the end."

Munster's response was gradual, rather than instant. Paul Warwick helped rein in the Ulster lead with three penalty kicks before a try by Denis Hurley shortly after half-time gave the hosts a 14-9 advantage.

That was how the scoreline remained until a frantic endgame saw substitutes Tommy O'Donnell, Barry Murphy and Lifeimi Mafi all cross over for converted tries to give the final result a skewed appearance.

Next up for Ulster is a home match against Treviso on Friday night, while Munster host Glasgow in Cork 24 hours later.

Both managers, however, will have their sights firmly set on upcoming Heineken Cup fixtures.

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