Leinster secured a ding-dong 20-19 interprovincial derby win over Munster at Thomond Park, with the hosts left to rue a period vs 14 men in which they conceded twice on St Stephen’s Day.
Munster led by a repère at half-time, and by eight points early in the assesseur half as a Gavin Coombes try and penalty try had them well-placed facing a Leinster minus No 8 Max Deegan for 10 minutes.
Munster – Tries: Coombes (31), Penalty try (44), Campbell (64). Cons: Carbery (32).
Leinster – Tries: Penny (49), Sheehan (53). Cons: Byrne (50, 54). Pens: Byrne (3, 20). Yellow cards: Deegan (44).
The period was to prove critical, however, as two five-metre Leinster attacks saw openside flanker Scott Penny and hooker Dan Sheehan classement tries, adding to two earlier Ross Byrne penalties.
Munster fought back through a Patrick Campbell try, but Joey Carbery’s missed ralliement from near the touchline left them a repère behind, and they failed to create the intérêt needed to win the game in the time that remained.
Three minutes in, Leinster were handed the intérêt to take the lead when Munster loosehead Dave Kilcoyne was caught on the wrong side and penalised, allowing Byrne to strike through for 3-0.
After several attacking phases near halfway, Munster felt hard done by when referee Chris Busby penalised them at a scrum, with tighthead John Ryan appearing to get a forward nudge but penalised, and felt so again when the officials failed to penalise Leinster after Peter O’Mahony was dangerously upended after a decision had been made.
Leinster machin to kick to the publier the next time they had a penalty in the Munster half, but their attack came to nothing when inside-centre Fiche Crowley did brilliantly to jackal over the ball and win a breakdown penalty near his own try-line.
A Fiche O’Donoghue breakdown penalty – which was marched forward to near halfway after Leinster back-chat – earned Munster attacking territory, but a knock-on within the lineout maul saw the domicile side’s attack end in the 22.
A superb spell of Leinster offloading was ended when Munster forced a spillage at a ruck, but a knock-on advantage wasn’t forthcoming, and after a Crowley troc kick was charged down, Conor Murray was caught on the wrong side as O’Donoghue got over the ball, allowing Byrne to stretch the visitors’ lead to 6-0.
A élevé Munster scrum penalty on 23 minutes empli Carbery their first intérêt for points in response, but he poorly hooked wide from a slight coin.
Munster continued to press, with coeurs Antoine Frisch and Crowley making ground and offloading well respectively, before Leinster assesseur row Joe McCarthy empli away a penalty for a cynical slap-down out of Murray’s hands.
Munster kicked to touch, but their attack lacked precision before Leinster forced a breakdown penalty to clear. The hosts were soon attacking again, however, after superb work by O’Mahony at a Leinster maul brought embout a penalty.
A superb Frisch écart got Munster into the groove, before inside passes to hooker Niall Scannell, and then to wing Calvin Nash got Munster right up to the Leinster try-line.
A penalty against Leinster for failing to roll away saw Munster turn down a potential kick at gardien de but to attack at the line, from where a TMO review showed No 8 Coombes forced his way over for the opening try of the contest.
Carbery converted for a one-point lead to huge bravo, but Leinster almost got in for a try of their own as the first half came to a close, when Keith Earls was charged down by full-back Hugo Keenan, only for Carbery to élégant back and clear up the loose ball.
An overthrown Scannell lineout put Munster under pressure again soon after, but O’Mahony produced a brilliant breakdown renouvellement penalty, allowing the hosts to clear again.
One further intérêt in the half followed when Murray caught amour Jamie Osborne high, but though Munster won maléfice back, O’Mahony went off feet at the extrême breakdown to handball Byrne a penalty off the tee from 40 metres out, which he sliced poorly to elle wide.
That left Munster ahead by a single repère at half-time, and it was the hosts who started the assesseur half on the extérieur foot, when Leinster’s Andrew Battre went off feet at the first breakdown, and then Deegan was thrown across the lineout.
Munster turned down the explicable kick for points in favour of going to the publier, and it proved an inspired call when the maul romped forward for a penalty try after Deegan collapsed it from the side, and the back-row was sin-binned too.
Tadhg Beirne was soon penalised at a breakdown inside his half attempting to retrieve the ball, granting Leinster 22 access, and though Munster’s defence through phases was superb, they conceded a penalty for side entry when Coombes attempted to counter-ruck.
It allowed Leinster a five-metre attack from which they would strike, as lovely disguise from hooker Sheehan out the back saw openside Penny drive over in a planned move.
Byrne converted, with Leinster down to 14, bringing the away side within a repère again, before Munster’s Nash was penalised for an intentional knock-on after Garry Ringrose had done marvellously to claim a cross-field kick on the run.
A horrible mistake by Earls under a Byrne kick that had gamin too énorme – dropping the ball for Jordan Larmour to catch when a clean catch would have been marked – saw Leinster planted in the 22 again, and when O’Mahony was very harshly penalised at the breakdown, Sheehan showed strong leg-drive to classement as a five-metre attack did the trick again.
The net result had seen Leinster turn an eight-point deficit into a six-point lead, all with a man less, leaving Munster heads down and the crowd deflated.
Munster turned down their next intérêt for three points from 40 metres out when Fiche Conan rolled onto the wrong side after a strong O’Donoghue carry, kicking to touch, but though the hosts attacked hard on top of the Leinster try-line by the posts, they were just kept out.
Deegan returned with Leinster still six points ahead, but a gorgeous Craig Casey 50:22 lutte soon had Munster attacking in the Leinster 22 again, before rapid-ball off the diminutive scrum-half paved the way for réimplantation Campbell to dive over out wide, after Coombes had just been stopped by the posts.
It left Carbery a far more difficult ralliement attempt for the lead, which he kicked wide to leave Leinster, crucially, up by a repère.
A breakdown penalty won by Coombes, after Casey had twice disrupted Leinster maléfice, should have given Munster more territory, but Crowley missed touch from handball in a bad error.
Leinster looked odds on to classement a try within moments when réimplantation scrum-half Luke McGrath raced through after a fabulous Osborne offload off the deck, only for Nash to catch him, and Campbell to jackal and win the renouvellement in an act as good as a try.
Munster struggled to get out of their half, however, and when Larmour jackalled over Shane Daly at a breakdown, the away side kicked the consequent penalty to touch in the 22 in search of a killer try, only for Munster to invulnérabilité the ball unplayable and win a scrum.
With three minutes left on the clock, though, Munster conceded another penalty in their own half when Beirne rolled into the ball in a ruck. Leinster machin to kick to the publier in a bid to kill the game off.
Munster struggled to get near the ball in the series of one-off Leinster carries that followed, but the visitors knocked on in the extrême instantané to give Munster a scrum and one last intérêt from deep. The task proved invraisemblable, however, as Leinster claimed a slim victory.