GLASGOW’s dream of winning the double was dashed last night as Munster proved too strong in this URC quarter-final clash. 
The Warriors had been unbeaten at Scotstoun this season in both the league and cup, and went into this game with their morale boosted by a convincing win away to Munster as recently as the end of March. They were the dominant side for the first quarter, but had already gone a full score behind when stand-off Tom Jordan was sent off for a dangerous tackle with 15 minutes of the first half still to play.
Munster soon scored a second try to go in at the break 14-0 up, and in the second half were able with relative ease to withstand the Warriors’ efforts to hit back until Kyle Steyn scored an unconverted try late in the game.
The Irish province now go through to a last-four meeting with Leinster in Dublin next weekend, while the Warriors have a rest weekend before they head for the Irish capital to play Toulon in the Challenge Cup final on Friday 19th. Leinster made it through to the semis with a 35-5 win over the Sharks earlier yesterday, while Connacht and the Stormers will meet in the other last-four tie after defeating Ulster and the Bulls respectively.
Munster were dealt an early blow when captain Peter O’Mahony was forced off by a shoulder injury, and then were deprived of a second key man when RJ Snyman went off with a head injury just past the quarter-hour mark, but they were still just about holding their own. Warriors captain Kyle Steyn had two threatening breaks in quick succession, only for both to be snuffed out by the visitors’ swarming defence.
Midway through the half Jack Dempsey came closer than anyone to breaking the deadlock, but the No.8 was held up on the Munster line. Then, after playing well inside their own half for the bulk of the game up to that point, the visitors struck with their first real attack of the game. The forwards did the build-up work patiently, and in the end the score came simply, with Jack Crowley putting Malachi Fekitoa in for the try from a couple of metres out. Crowley converted to make it a 7-0 lead.
Worse swiftly followed for the Warriors, as Munster quickly launched another attack. Jordan tackled Conor Murray into touch, and after several replays the referee showed the stand-off a red card for head-on-head contact as Murray left the field.
When play resumed, Munster wasted no time in making their numerical advantage count, with Antoine Frisch being the one to finish off from close range this time. Two more points from Crowley stretched the advantage to 14-0.
Glasgow made a decent fist of a fightback in the early stages of the second 40, but, as they had done in the first, they came up against a defence which astutely combined brain and brawn. A driven maul, for example, came within a few metres of the line, but the momentum could not be sustained.
With 25 minutes to go and the deficit still stuck stubbornly at 14 points, head coach Franco Smith made four changes in a bid to inject some fresh energy into his team. The extra effort was there all right, but Munster were equal to it at that point, turning over a Warriors scrum on their own five-metre line just before the game entered its final quarter.
Then, with 13 minutes to go, the Warriors found a chink in the Irish armour, and Steyn dived over in the left corner from a Huw Jones pass. Stafford McDowall’s conversion attempt went wide, and the home side did not get another chance to cut the deficit further.
Sione Tuipulotu was sent to the sinbin in the closing minutes for a tackle offence, meaning Glasgow played out the game with 13 men.