Munster come up short in Heineken Cup opener

Updated: October 13, 2012

Olly Barkley kicking helped ensure that Racing Metro held on to beat Munster in their opening Heineken Cup clash of the 2012-’13 season at Stade De France.

The English out-half held his nerve to land the three points minutes from time when it had seemed certain the Irish side would hold on to win following Simon Zebo’s marvelous solo try.

Munster started well early through an early plenty from Ronan O’Gara and when lanker Sean Dougall collected Peter O’Mahony’s offload for a debut try, a comfortable win – and possibly a winning bonus point – looked likely for the two time Heineken Cup winners.

Barkley knocked over a penalty though before talismanic lock Paul O’Connell spilled the ball with the Racing try line at his mercy. The Parisians took full advantage of O’Connell’s error as Machenaud hacked on to touch down, with Barkley adding the extras to level the scores at 10 apiece.

O’Gara went off injured after 34 minutes, and Barkley ensured an unlikely half-time lead for the home side when he notched another penalty just before the interval.

As rain began falling with the second half starting, scores were always likely to be at a premium and the French side edged a tactical kicking battle throughout the second 40 minutes as Barkley sent over the penalty of the match from out wide ten minutes after the break to stretch the Racing advantage to six.

Cork native Simon Zebo scorched through the home defence with time running out for a marvelous solo touchdown, allowing Keatley to secure a one-point lead for the visitors.

But a mistake from scrum half Conor Murray allowed Barkley to register his fourth penalty – and further ill-discipline at the death allowed Italian legend Mirco Bergamasco to rubber-stamp a memorable win for the hosts.

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