O'Gara steadies the ship
Veteran fly-half kicks Munster to important victory
Last Updated: 28/10/11 11:02pm
Ronan O'Gara: three penalties in each half
Aironi made life tough for Munster at Musgrave Park, as Ronan O'Gara kicked six penalties to earn the hosts their first win in three RaboDirect PRO12 games.
The veteran Ireland fly-half marked his return from the World Cup with three penalties in each half of a try-less encounter.
Luciano Orquera replied with two kicks for the visitors on his debut.
After Aironi hands in a ruck, O'Gara sent over a well-judged penalty from the left for the fourth-minute opener and with Munster dominating possession early on, O'Gara quickly rewarded his forwards with a second successful penalty.
But Orquera, who had missed an earlier effort from inside his own half, slotted a close-range 13th-minute penalty and Aironi soon made inroads into Munster territory.
They drew a penalty at the breakdown from an over-eager James Coughlan, however Orquera screwed his attempt wide from a very kickable position.
Damien Varley burst through the middle of a ruck to give the hosts some momentum, but he failed to find his man at the resulting lineout and Sinoti Sinoti countered for the Italians.
Munster had to defend a couple of mauls before a back-handed pass from Chambers almost set up Johne Murphy for the game's first try-scoring chance.
Munster's attacks were too predictable at times and Aironi kept their discipline until Fabio Staibano was penalised at a scrum and O'Gara, into a fresh wind, pushed the lead out to six points.
Orquera missed an injury-time chance to reply - again from inside his own half - and O'Gara strengthened Munster's hand with two more three-pointers after the restart.
Paul O'Connell and his forward colleagues forced the issue coming to the hour mark, their scrum driving Aironi back, and the Italians' indiscipline was beginning to hurt them.
O'Gara followed his only miss with an accurate 57th-minute kick and Aironi prop Staibano was sin-binned soon after for dropping a scrum.
But Aironi dug deep while down to 14 men and even managed to add to their tally through Orquera's second penalty goal.
In a scrappy climax, Tomas O'Leary was forced off with a knock and Scott Deasy, already on for O'Gara, stepped in to play scrum-half.
Deasy was unfortunate when the ball fell off the kicking tee as he ran up to attempt a penalty. The young half-back did kick two further penalties into touch, but Munster's experienced pack were unable to unlock Aironi's stubborn defence.