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Jack's flair missing as Ulster fail in the end

In Pictures: Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle Close

Forties heyday: Jack Kyle

Forties heyday: Jack Kyle

Jack Kyle

Jack Kyle

Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle

Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle

RBS Six Nations 21/3/2009
Ireland
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with Jack Kyle after the game
Mandatory Credit ?INPHO/Morgan Treacy *** Local Caption ***

RBS Six Nations 21/3/2009 Ireland Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with Jack Kyle after the game Mandatory Credit ?INPHO/Morgan Treacy *** Local Caption ***

?INPHO/Morgan Treacy

A fun moment in January 2006 at Parliament Buildings, when Rugby Legends Jack Kyle and Willie John McBride ,joined Allen Gibson, then the Chairman of the UK and Ulster Rugby Charity "Wooden Spoon". The occasion was Jack's 80th Birthday lunch in the members dining room, Stormont with Irish rugby VIP's. Picture Stanley Matchett.

A fun moment in January 2006 at Parliament Buildings, when Rugby Legends Jack Kyle and Willie John McBride ,joined Allen Gibson, then the Chairman of the UK and Ulster Rugby Charity "Wooden Spoon". The occasion was Jack's 80th Birthday lunch in the members dining room, Stormont with Irish rugby VIP's. Picture Stanley Matchett.

Pacemaker Press International Belfast 13/8/2008. The surviving members of the 1948 grand slam winning Ireland side after a question and answer session at the Europa hotel this afternoon. Included are, Jim McCarthy, Jack Kyle, Jimmy Nelson, Karl Mullen, Paddy Reid, Bertie OHanlon and Michael OFlanagan . Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Pacemaker Press International Belfast 13/8/2008. The surviving members of the 1948 grand slam winning Ireland side after a question and answer session at the Europa hotel this afternoon. Included are, Jim McCarthy, Jack Kyle, Jimmy Nelson, Karl Mullen, Paddy Reid, Bertie OHanlon and Michael OFlanagan . Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Guinness PRO12, Thomond Park, Co. Limerick 28/11/2014
Munster vs Ulster
Ulster players show their respects to Jack Kyle who passed away today 
Mandatory Credit ?INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Guinness PRO12, Thomond Park, Co. Limerick 28/11/2014 Munster vs Ulster Ulster players show their respects to Jack Kyle who passed away today Mandatory Credit ?INPHO/Ryan Byrne

?INPHO/Ryan Byrne

RBS Six Nations, Millenium Stadium, Cardiff 21/3/2009
Wales vs Ireland
Jack Kyle
Mandatory Credit INPHO/Dan Sheridan *** Local Caption ***

RBS Six Nations, Millenium Stadium, Cardiff 21/3/2009 Wales vs Ireland Jack Kyle Mandatory Credit INPHO/Dan Sheridan *** Local Caption ***

Legendary half fly Jack Kyle, 83, at his Co Down, Northern Ireland home. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 19, 2009. Among the thousands of rugby fans descending on Cardiff this weekend is one who has waited longer than most for Ireland to clinch a second grand slam. Jack Kyle, who led the men in green to their only clean sweep in 1948, will be in the Millennium Stadium on Saturday hoping the current generation can finally emulate that achievement. See PA story SPORT Rugby Ireland. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Legendary half fly Jack Kyle, 83, at his Co Down, Northern Ireland home. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 19, 2009. Among the thousands of rugby fans descending on Cardiff this weekend is one who has waited longer than most for Ireland to clinch a second grand slam. Jack Kyle, who led the men in green to their only clean sweep in 1948, will be in the Millennium Stadium on Saturday hoping the current generation can finally emulate that achievement. See PA story SPORT Rugby Ireland. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Rugby legends Jack Kyle and Willie John McBride holding up their Ulster Rugby Jerseys ahead of the Ulster match against the Dragons at Ravenhill.

Rugby legends Jack Kyle and Willie John McBride holding up their Ulster Rugby Jerseys ahead of the Ulster match against the Dragons at Ravenhill.

Jack Kyle

Jack Kyle

Local hero: Jack Kyle gets a standing ovation during a visit to Ravenhill last February. He was always a popular visitor to the stadium he once graced as a player

Local hero: Jack Kyle gets a standing ovation during a visit to Ravenhill last February. He was always a popular visitor to the stadium he once graced as a player

?INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ralph Spearman (left) with Irish rugby  legend Jack Kyle

Ralph Spearman (left) with Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle

Legendary half fly Jack Kyle, at his Co Down, Northern Ireland home

Legendary half fly Jack Kyle, at his Co Down, Northern Ireland home

Watch him go: the late, great Jack Kyle sets off on one of his trademark mazy runs

Watch him go: the late, great Jack Kyle sets off on one of his trademark mazy runs

Special guest: Jack Kyle, seen here with Mike Gibson, was a great supporter of the Belfast Telegraph Sports awards

Special guest: Jack Kyle, seen here with Mike Gibson, was a great supporter of the Belfast Telegraph Sports awards

The Ulster team observe a minutes silence in memory of Jack Kyle and David McCormick. Guinness PRO12, Thomond Park, Co. Limerick. INPHO/James Crombie.

The Ulster team observe a minutes silence in memory of Jack Kyle and David McCormick. Guinness PRO12, Thomond Park, Co. Limerick. INPHO/James Crombie.

?INPHO/James Crombie

Jack Kyle in his heyday

Jack Kyle in his heyday

Jack Kyle

Jack Kyle

Jack Kyle at his home

Jack Kyle at his home

Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with Jack Kyle after a game

Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with Jack Kyle after a game

?INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Green giant: Jack Kyle’s love affair with rugby never ended

Green giant: Jack Kyle’s love affair with rugby never ended

Silent tribute: Ulster players line up to remember Jack Kyle before last night’s match at Thomond Park

Silent tribute: Ulster players line up to remember Jack Kyle before last night’s match at Thomond Park

?INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Ulster rugby stalwart Bryn Cunningham took the Special Award, handed over by legend Jack Kyle.

Ulster rugby stalwart Bryn Cunningham took the Special Award, handed over by legend Jack Kyle.

Ireland legends Jack Kyle (left) and Jimmy Nelson read the match programme from the famous 6-3 victory over Wales in 1948 at Ravenhill which clinched the Grand Slam

Ireland legends Jack Kyle (left) and Jimmy Nelson read the match programme from the famous 6-3 victory over Wales in 1948 at Ravenhill which clinched the Grand Slam

Alan Moneypenny, Jack Kyle and Rory Best. 2011 Linwoods and Sport Northern Ireland Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.

Alan Moneypenny, Jack Kyle and Rory Best. 2011 Linwoods and Sport Northern Ireland Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards at the Ramada Hotel, Belfast.

Forties heyday: Jack Kyle

On the day Irish rugby lost arguably its finest ever player, there was little of Jack Kyle's virtuoso style on show last night as Ulster somehow fell to interpro rivals Munster in what was an entertaining full-blooded contest but lacked quality.

The penalty count was needlessly high and, indeed, the game was perfectly summed up by its conclusion when Ian Humphreys, the man in Kyle's old No 10 shirt, with a perfect five from five off the tee, missed a straightforward conversion that would have given Ulster the most unlikely of wins and sent them to the top of the Pro12 table.

Had Nick Williams' late score brought with it a scarcely deserved win then Neil Doak would surely have felt like the luckiest man in Limerick after a performance that at one stage seemed unlikely to earn even the losing bonus point it eventually brought.

Winners of six in a row before last night, the hosts had momentum but the starting line-ups, as well as notable wins in this stadium during recent years, augured well for Ulster.

While captain Rory Best was included, despite playing 68 minutes against Australia on his return from a calf injury last weekend, and Robbie Diack was available for an impressive cameo off the bench, Munster were unable to field their frontline Irish stars.

Ulster were without Tommy Bowe, as well a host of his injured team-mates, but the winger's absence could not have been compared to Munster's loss of Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray and Simon Zebo.

Indeed, on the basis of the opening quarter, played out after an impeccably observed silence in memory of Kyle, those Limerick natives who had stayed away from Thomond Park seemed justified in their decision as Ulster bossed proceedings.

Building around the clever kicking of Humphreys, starting due to the shoulder injury shipped by usual fly-half Paddy Jackson, Ulster began excellently and eeked out four penalties that their No 10 duly knocked over, impressively.

The scrum, that traditional area of Munster supremacy, was encouraging too with props Callum Black and Wiehahn Herbst earning a couple of penalties while Munster were disrupted on their own put in.

Ahead by 12 points without their opponents really firing a shot, Ulster would have expected Munster to come back but they will have been disappointed by their own role in proceedings.

After 23 minutes, when Craig Gilroy was pinged for a high tackle, the home side belatedly troubled the scoreboard operator thanks to an Ian Keatley penalty.

Ulster's response could have been swift but, after Black again had the beating of BJ Botha at scrum-time, the lineout malfunctioned and the chance was gone.

They were pressing again but a penalty awarded when Williams petulantly tossed the ball towards Donncha O'Callaghan after a tackle gave Munster the chance to clear the danger.

From there, it was not long before Robin Copeland was crossing the Ulster line after an impressive move but Doak will surely feel that his side were the architects of their own downfall. The atmosphere was starting to come to the boil after the Williams incident and, when the mild-mannered pair of Gilroy and Louis Ludik are involved in some afters, it is fair to assume the interpro rivalry still harbours the intensity of old.

It was Munster, though, that were the team in the ascendancy and, while they did not score again before the turn, Ulster were certainly the ones welcoming the opportunity to regroup afforded by half-time.

Poor defending off the back of a Munster scrum allowed scrum-half Duncan Williams to score just before he was bundled into touch and Keatley, by now putting early struggles behind him, nailed a difficult conversion.

With 25 minutes remaining, Munster's fly-half had added another six points off the tee to move Ulster out of losing bonus point territory and a game that had promised much now seemed set to yield no reward whatsoever.

When Franco van der Merwe was interfered with at the lineout, with Munster's Stephen Archer sent to the sin bin, Humphreys' penalty brought Ulster back within seven and offered the consolation of a solitary point - but the drama was not finished.

With a man advantage, the men in white finally gained some territory and Williams barrelled over to set up Humphreys' doomed attempt to seal the win. Even the most ardent of Ulster supporters will admit that it would have been an ill-deserved triumph.

Belfast Telegraph