Munster produced one of the most impressive European Champions Cup performances in recent history as they secured a bonus point 38-17 win over Glasgow Warriors, despite winger Keith Earls being sent off in the first half.
In a highly charged match – the first since the tragic death of head coach Anthony Foley last weekend – Munster had already scored two tries within the opening 15 minutes when Earls saw red after a tip-tackle on Glasgow hooker Fraser Brown.
Brown was lifted above the parallel and tipped before landing on the back of his head.
Referee Jerome Garces followed the letter of the law and brandished a red card, much to the dismay of the Thomond Park faithful.
But what further soured the incident more was Earls’ reaction afterwards. The winger challenged Garces’ decision before appearing to verbally berate Brown and full back Stuart Hogg with a number of expletives as he walked off the pitch. He then struck out on the pitchside equipment.
Earls and Hogg made up post match
Munster eventually went on to record a remarkable bonus point victory and scored some excellent tries in the process. It was a fitting result that few would begrudge a team in such mourning however, Earls’ behaviour on and off the field may have tainted what was a hugely impressive and poignant victory for the home side.
Like all European Champions and Challenge Cup matches over the weekend, there was a minute’s silence observed to remember the life of Anthony Foley. It was a moving scene with many of the Munster players visibly in tears.
And as the whistle sounded, the Munstermen and their loyal fans, the Red Army, paid tribute to their coach in the only way “Axel” would have wanted.
What are your thoughts about the incident and subsequent reaction? Was it a deserved red? You can view this plus the moving minute’s silence pre-match below:
Minute silence for Anthony Foley