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Glasgow Maintain Unbeaten Home Run But Only Just

Friday night saw Glasgow Warriors keep hold of their unbeaten home record in all competitions, which stretches back to September of last year, but a 69th-minute unconverted try from centre Lifeimi Mafi handed Munster a share of the spoils at Firhill.

Munster did have chances to get even more out of the game but fly-half Paul Warwick failed to convert Mafi’s touchdown and replacement Jeremy Maning was also wayward with a late drop goal attempt, as was full-back Shaun Payne, and a penalty opportunity.

Glasgow’s Dan Parks missed the target too when he was gifted a last-gasp chance to win, but his kick was off target and the points were deservedly shared.

Looking to end a run of two straight league defeats, Munster meant business from the start with all of the players, bar the injured Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell, involved from Ireland’s World Cup squad.

An offside from former All Black Daryl Gibson was punished in the full by Warwick who lofted the fifth-minute penalty through the uprights.

Munster then looked poised to threaten the hosts’ try line but from their own close in lineout throw, the province coughed up possession with Glasgow flanker John Barclay rising highest to take a good steal.

Glasgow gained a foothold in the game and some decent territory when centre Andrew Henderson made a neat break in midfield. Slow ruck ball meant Sean Lineen’s charges failed to eek out a try, but Munster had infringed at the breakdown and Parks levelled the game with the place kick.

Munster only had themselves to blame after 18 minutes when Brian Carney went to retrieve a long kick from Parks near his posts. The winger collected the ball successfully but his pass to Peter Stringer went astray and Gibson was quick in to nail the Ireland scrum half with a strong challenge.

Such was the force of the Kiwi’s tackle that the ball spilled loose and invitingly for the Warriors’ new winger, Samoan international Lome Fa’atau, to gather and dive over for his first try for the club.

Parks failed to add on the extras but Munster were not turning pressure into points at the other end. Warwick missed a penalty shot five minutes before the break but in injury-time, the former Australian Sevens player succeeded to leave Munster with just an 8-6 deficit to overhaul in the second half.

Glasgow added to their tally, nine minutes into the second period, when a cheap penalty was offered up by Munster and Parks pushed his side 11-6 ahead.

The Scotland fly-half then almost created a try-scoring opportunity as he sent a booming garryowen into the night sky and with the Munster defence struggling for a short period, the visitors almost leaked their second try.

Warwick missed a penalty chance coming up to the hour mark but Munster, with flanker Alan Quinlan prominent in defence and attack, increased the tempo for the final quarter and got their reward. New Zealander Rua Tipoki made a telling break to set up his centre partner Mafi for a well-taken try.

Unfortunately, Warwick was wide with his conversion attempt and the sides remained deadlocked at 11-11 until referee James Jones blew for full-time.

A late sin-binning for try scorer Mafi for a ruck infringement added to the tension and heightened Glasgow’s chances of sneaking the win, but from a chip and chase attack from Parks, replacement Mike Collins just failed to hold the number 10’s inside pass and the opportunity was gone.

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