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In August of 2007, the 2006 European Cup winners, Munster from Ireland, visited Chicago to play in the inaugural Setanta Challenge Cup. The Irish squad came with a mix of first and second side players as those selected for Ireland's Rugby World Cup in 2007 stayed home.
Munster, founded in 1879, was a storied Irish club that played at two grounds, Thomond Park, Limerick, and Musgrave Park, Cork. They held the distinction of being the only Irish club that beat the All Blacks.
The match took place inside Toyota Park, home to the Major League Soccer Chicago Fire, and witnessed by a crowd of 8,600. The contest would be a tuneup for the USA's RWC participation in the tournament to be played in France. The Eagles qualified by defeating Uruguay.
The USA players:
1. MacDonald, 2. Burdette, 3. Osentowksi, 4. Gross, 5. Mangan, 6. Stanfill, 7. Clever, 8. Bloomfield, 9. Erskine, 10. Hercus (c), 11. Ngwenya, 12. Esika, 13. Emerick, 14. Sika, and 15, Wyles.
In a sloppy match with 23 total penalties, six committed by the USA, Munster defeated the Eagles 10-6. Speed merchant winger Takudzwa Ngwenya dazzled the crowd with some long breaks, but also generated cries of disappointment when he dropped several balls. The USA also lost six lineouts.
The USA led 3-0 at the half from a Hercus penalty kick. The score advance to 6-3 Eagles, until an Irish overlap produced a try and a conversion to put Munster ahead 10-6.
And that score did not change as both sides battled in vain to find the try line.