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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ronan O'Gara sinks Saints with injury time drop goal

Heineken Cup rugby has delivered once again as the first round of matches have had fans on the edge of their seats all around Europe, none more so than in the Munster vs Northampton thriller on Saturday night. Munster were trailing with time up, before Ronan O'Gara pulled the trigger.

Saints looked like they were on their way to a well deserved away win as they tackled everything in sight in those final few minutes, actually driving Munster back on more than one occasion. The home side kept at it though, keeping possesion for over five minutes and 40 phases, all the time confident in the knowledge that they had O'Gara patiently waiting for the right moment.

When it came, following another great surge of momentum from Doug Howlett - who scored a wonderful try earlier in the match - O'Gara took the chance without a sniff.

"It was something special. The belief in the group, the way they stuck at it for 80 minutes, a lesser side would maybe not even have been in the contest," said coach Tony McGahan.

"Ronan O'Gara's kick at the end, he's a special person to do that, to show the bottle to put his hand up and make the kick. This felt like a Round Six encounter during the week when it actually was an opening-round game. This competition is like six Test matches and we are approaching it in that fashion. The win gives us a great buzz," he added.

Saints fans weren't too pleased with the refereeing of Nigel Owens, who has had a rough few months. Northampton coach Jim Mallinder said he was disappointed with some of the calls.

"I think the game did hinge on some crucial refereeing decisions. I felt the referee got quite a lot wrong. I think it is as simple as that. It is difficult. It is an intimidating place to play with a cracking atmosphere.

"Sometimes you don't always get the rub of the green and I think we will look back and probably say we did not quite get it. The mood in the dressing room is low. The feeling is one of frustration."

Below are the final few minutes, including all of 41 phases, and then the winning kick.

Please Note: Clips from the rest of the weekend's matches will be posted over the next few days

Posted at 3:27 pm | 27 comments

Harlequins beat Stade Francais with a most dramatic finale

Posted in See it to Believe it

Viewing 27 comments

jackthelad November 13, 2011 5:51 pm

saw this live, phenomenal game

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TechnoMouse November 13, 2011 5:56 pm

Being a Saints fan I'm gutted for the loss, but you can't help but applaud O'Gara and Munster for the finish.

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downwithdropgoals November 13, 2011 6:01 pm

As a Munster fan, WOW awesome, still think the drop goal should be reduced to 1 point though. What a match, what an opening round, what world cup, this has already been better!

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 13, 2011 6:07 pm

the lucky lucky spawney shite arse he is

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dotser November 13, 2011 6:31 pm

Irish commentary of last few phases (well 100,000 be exact)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NazVO3WnK0Q

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 15, 2011 4:37 am

He's like a horse racing commentator at Fairyhouse in the last couple of furlongs. Anyone remember that irish horse commentator? Thousand words a minute he was, but I can't remember his name.

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Fettsack November 13, 2011 6:35 pm

Great effort from Munster to keep the ball for so long without loosing it because Northampton's defence was well organised.
O'gara almost isolated himself at least twice before they came closer to the line.

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sjflaher November 13, 2011 6:36 pm

Another Thomond Park miracle, I think they've seen more than Nazareth at this stage.

Check out the audio clip from the Irish radio commentary below. Michael Corcoran absolutely loses the plot!
http://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2011/1112/munster_av.html

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i love bacon November 13, 2011 7:52 pm

And Sexton slotted an 80th-minute penalty to tie the Leinster-Montpellier result. A good weekend overall for Ireland's two top out-halves. Though, to be fair, a dropgoal 40 phases well after the 80th minute is always more exciting than a penalty kick - partly because it's won through the determination of the players and not the referee's whistle.

99% of the time, efforts like the one in the clip end up with a knock-on, a turnover, or a penalty. Well done, O'Gara et al.

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MunsterMonster November 13, 2011 8:55 pm

I was there and my voice box has been destroyed.

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AK-NZ November 13, 2011 10:16 pm

Wow, fucking awesome finish! That was a brilliant kick too.

Commentator was getting rather annoying though lol.

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The Green Mafia November 13, 2011 10:39 pm

40 fases, without conceding a penalty, both offence and defence. The man has some shit games in his past, but every other game he makes the commentators cum. "O'GARA! O'GARA! O'GARAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!", epic match

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IrishRef November 13, 2011 11:52 pm

incredible weekend of european rugby. I watched 6 games and want more

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IrishRef November 13, 2011 11:53 pm

loved austin healy going about the great Northampton win at about 79 mins.

fat lady and singing austin!

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johndoe November 14, 2011 12:53 am

Just shows he's still a tool underneath it all, no matter how nice he tries to come off on those shitty documentary things they did.

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mise November 14, 2011 12:47 am

Owens did make some strange calls, but they went both ways. For sure.

e.g. the ball was _already_ travelling forward before it clipped ROG's hand...for a Northampton try.

And a genuine hand on the ball in the lineout was pinged as interfering with the player at a crucil time near the end. It went both ways, and caused a try twice (one _each_)

Incredible match thou - first time in years there have been tickets at the door (Irish recession for ya) at thomond... imagine a regular not going this time cos it was 1st round!

Dogie was incredible - MOTM IMO - completely underused by Munster. and ROG, whatever u think f him ,has to be up there with Carter as the best kicker in the world. At least as good as carter kicking wise (tactical and place). RWC and this game just confirm that.

Northhampton have great pack and back 3, but they need to fill in the bits inbetween....what a pack thou.

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johndoe November 14, 2011 12:57 am

Dan Carter is the best in the world no doubt, but in terms of kicking to the corners / percentage kicks ROG is better. Also, since ROG can't run / jink like Carter, he makes the kicking a much bigger part of his game. And it works. I'd take DC any day, but ROG is the best at that.

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rugby08 November 14, 2011 1:09 pm

Well done to Munster to win the game but there should of been at least 2 penalties for sealing off there.

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IrishRef November 14, 2011 5:17 pm

I'll see your 2 sealing off penalties and raise you 2 offsides at the ruck by the Saints plus a lot of loitering/lazy retreat back to their side of the ruck!

all in all, after a pretty patchy game, Mr Owens refereed this final phase of play very well. He was vocal and players actually listened to him!

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Huh!! the 3rd November 15, 2011 5:07 am

Thanks fot the whole 41 phases RD.

Up in the mines in Western Aus and am missing Munster games badly. I caught most of the WC games but knew I'd have trouble getting the Heineken.

If my heart was in my mouth watching that, can't imagine what I would've been like watching it live.

On to the play itself. While Munster aren't near the best anymore, this is what they can still do from time to time. I don't see them winning it, but they'll have a ride along the way.

I agree with the sealing off and the offsides, so it went both ways.

Have to mention Leamy here, on his day a match for any back row in the world, but those days are few and far between now due to incessant injury (shades of Ferris to come maybe). he showed up at every ruck, attacked from deep and gave the final pass after being involved in the very last ruck prior to this (without a knock on as has been suggested, maybe not here). Munster might not be to everyones but as a life long fan I wouldn't change it, 'cept maybe another back or 2.

Cheers RD

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Just Call Me Ehtch November 15, 2011 10:51 am

Aw well, I suppose Ronan the lad did well, even if he does comes across as pepper and salt, one or the other, or together.

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cheyanqui November 16, 2011 4:10 pm

Thanks RD.

Amazing that a normal highlight reel for an entire match can only be 5-10 minutes.

This reel alone (for the final score) clocks in at 7:04. How on earth do you make a short form of this?

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jnfeehan November 16, 2011 10:04 pm

Lets vote: Heineken cup or World cup? Amazing weekend of rugby..

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Madmac November 16, 2011 11:23 pm

Any chance of getting the London Irish vs Edinburgh game? I'm down in Australia and can't find the highlights anywhere.

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