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Battling Borders Just Miss Out

Brave Borders produced a battling performance before falling to the ninth defeat of their Celtic League campaign at Musgrave Park, Cork.

At half-time Tony Gilbert’s side looked on course to create a major upset against mighty Munster, and although the Irish hit back to restore the natural order of things, the final margin of victory was unkind on a Borders side who are gradually finding their feet at this level.

Borders, buoyed by last week’s success against Agen took the game to their hosts from the kick-off.

But Gary Armstrong and Cammie Murray were both guilty of basic mistakes before Munster broke the deadlock through Jerry Staunton’s penalty.

Armstrong was caught out again as the Irish grabbed the game’s first try in 12 minutes.

The former Scotland scrum-half saw his attempted clearance kick blocked by Jason Jones-Hughes who released David Pusey. As Borders back-pedalled, the big lock timed his pass perfectly for James Blaney to plunge over in the corner.

There was a danger the floodgates would open but instead Borders dug deep to take the lead before the break.

They hit back in 16 minutes when Scott Paterson collected his own improvised kick and released Murray, who fed Dan Kane for the touchdown which Gareth Morton converted.

Gilbert’s team grabbed the lead ten minutes later when props Craig Dunlea and Geoff Cross barged their way deep into Munster territory before Scott MacLeod applied the finishing touch. Morton again converted.

Borders continued to dominate as the Irish reeled and in 31 minutes the visitors extended their lead when Kane notched his second try of the night.

This time Murray was the provider with a mazy run and Kane was perfectly placed to finish the move. Morton’s third successful kick opened a 13-point gap but the centre’s missed penalty just before the break offered Munster hope and they overturned the deficit within 20 minutes of the restart through a double from Anthony Horgan.

The winger first cashed-in on some patient forward play from the Munster pack to romp in under the posts. Soon after Horgan punished the Borders again when he barged through Nikki Walker’s attempted tackle.

Skipper Jason Holland converted both to complete his side’s recovery and open a one-point lead. The Borders were dealt a cruel blow when Rob Henderson added the decisive score in injury time and Holland converted

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