David Corkery: Munster must stop blaming the ref and look in the mirror

Connacht recorded a victory at Thomond Park because the Reds clearly believed their hype according to our expert analyst
David Corkery: Munster must stop blaming the ref and look in the mirror

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony, and referee Dan Jones during the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup loss to Connacht at Thomond Park. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

CONNACHT'S win over Munster was one of the greatest examples ever of a team throwing the toys from the pram because they did not get their own way.

Every time Connacht either won a penalty or Munster made a mistake, the expression on the faces of the men in the red jerseys was one of scepticism and disbelief. At times it looked like that the Munster players thought that just because they were playing at home and had won their last two games that all they had to do was show up.

Clearly, the Munster coaching ticket did not give their opponents the respect they warranted and when this happens, the attitude filters down to the players and they almost become egotistical on how they approach the game.

Between CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony questioning the referee on nearly every decision, it was a minor miracle that Dan Jones did not produce a yellow card for persistent dissent.

No referee will get every call correct. However, they are the law and if this game was policed by someone like Frank Murphy or Nigel Owens, it wouldn't have been tolerated.

I can fully understand the frustration as a player when you think that you are being hard done by, but what this game required was calmness and leadership.

Few gave Connacht a snowball's chance in hell but through a combination of ill-discipline, poor attitude and lack of leadership from Munster, the men from the west produced a winning performance that will go down in their history books as one of their greatest to date.

Kudos must also be heaped on the visitors and their coaches for how they threw everything at their hosts but Munster must not use that as an excuse. They lost it because they could not deal with the pressure of their system breaking down and were unable to think on their feet and do what was needed.

Connacht were always going to come out swinging, but please do not tell me that Munster are a lesser side. The main difference is that Munster just expected things to happen, whereas Connacht were prepared to get down and dirty.

Over the last 10 years, Munster have failed to collect any kind of silverware and even though their efforts have always been commendable, it has been their lack of consistency that has cost them when it mattered most.

I have said it before and I will say it again unless Munster can comfortably acquire victories against Leinster, Connacht and Ulster, they will never regain their European crown. So to let this opportunity slip through their fingers of gaining a clean sweep against all three... a massive opportunity gone amiss.

INEXPERIENCE

It was great to see some of the younger members of the squad be afforded the opportunity to start and apart from Dan Goggin none of them really took advantage.

Ben Healy and Craig Casey may well have all the ability in the world, but if they are unable to guide their teammates into areas of advantage on the field, they will never be able to forge a great half-back partnership.

Healy is still that little bit too tolerant of his forwards not affording him the kind of go-forward ball he requires.

As a 10, it is your job to guide the players around the park and if you are prepared to accept an amateurish service, you must be prepared to suffer the consequences. Casey on the other hand needs to calm down a good few notches and be the reassuring eyes and ears that his forwards require.

Up-front, no one was hungry or clever enough to make a significant difference and Connacht’s united work ethics far outshone the individualism that the Munster players displayed.

Apart from one or two dominant scrums and a few good mauls, Munster lost all the individual battles and for that to happen in Thomond park, there needs to be something seriously amiss.

The annoying thing now is that all the good work they have achieved stands for very little, and the momentum they have gained in their previous two victories has been undone. Their destiny in this competition is now out of their own hands and as a coach and player, there is nothing more disheartening.

A loss of this nature is simply not good enough and if it is not addressed in the correct fashion, then heads must roll.

It is as simple and blunt as that.

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