1. ITV Report

Ulster stage comeback to overcome Munster

Rob Lyttle scores a try for Ulster. Credit: INPHO
  • Ulster 24 - 17 Munster

By Ciaran Donaghy

Ulster produced a remarkable comeback to beat Munster with a bonus point in a thrilling interpro derby at Kingspan Stadium.

Les Kiss’ side trailed 17-0 at half time on Monday, as a forward-dominated Munster display yielded three tries.

However, the turning point came on 58 minutes.

Former Ulster player Sam Arnold received a straight red card and the home side took full advantage to open up an eight-point gap on fourth-placed Edinburgh.

Munster missed an early chance to take the lead when Ulster No8 Jean Deysel went off his feet at a ruck, but JJ Hanrahan was off-target with the resulting penalty.

Munster's JJ Hanrahan in action. Credit: INPHO

Munster nearly broke the deadlock on 12 minutes from a lineout in the Ulster 22 – but the visitors did strike two minutes later.

They kicked a penalty to the corner, the forwards set up the maul, but this time they kept it tight and propelled hooker Niall Scannell over from close range - but Hanrahan failed to convert.

Scannell got his second try on 24 minutes and it was a carbon copy of the first.

Then Munster’s pack set the platform for their third try on 34 minutes.

Ulster and Munster in action at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Credit: INPHO

They forced a scrum penalty and opted for another set piece - both front rows came up and the referee order a reset, and the Munster pack drove Ulster back.

When the home side illegally stopped it, a penalty try was awarded and the seven points gave the Limerick side a 17-0 lead at the interval.

Ulster had a try disallowed on 50 minutes following their first sustained period of pressure in the Munster 22.

Scrum half John Cooney darted under the post after a strong carry by flanker Greg Jones, but the try was chalked off for an illegal tackle in the build-up.

John Cooney in action for Ulster. Credit: INPHO

Munster had replacement lock Fineen Wycherley yellow carded on 55 minutes for deliberately killing the ball, and Ulster took advantage.

The forwards retained the ball through a number of phases before John Cooney made a break - the scrum half had Darren Cave on his shoulder and the Ireland centre dashed over with the pivot converting.

Munster centre Arnold was red-carded for a dangerous tackle on Christian Leali’ifano in the build-up to the try.

With Munster down to 13 men, Ulster got their second try on 61 minutes – Craig Gilroy got the touchdown, but Cooney missed the conversion.

Craig Gilroy touches down for Ulster. Credit: INPHO

Ulster took the lead with six minutes remaining, with Gilroy getting an easy run in and Cooney converting from the touch line.

Ulster sealed an unlikely bonus point victory with the final play of the game, when Rob Herring released Lyttle and the winger showed great pace to run in from 40 metres for an unconverted try.