Connacht 14 Munster 19
Munster got back to winning ways in the Guinness PRO14 after producing an impressive performance against a strong Connacht side to emerge five-point winners at the Sportsground.
Munster made 10 changes to the team which lost to Saracens in Allianz Park last weekend but despite the youthful look to the side, they started strongly when JJ Hanrahan opened the scoring after Caolin Blade was penalised on the deck for holding on.
Both sides traded penalties as Munster led 6-3 but the southern province struck the first major blow of the game when Jack O’Donoghue, who came into the fray early on for Gavin Coombes, went over from close-range after some good pressure near the Connacht line.
Disappointingly for Coombes, his night was cut short as he failed to return from the head injury he suffered.
This gave Johann van Graan’s side a 10-point lead before JJ Hanrahan and Stephen Fitzgerald traded penalties once again. However, Connacht ended the half the stronger as a superb line break led to some Munster indiscipline and Fitzgerald kicked another three points to leave seven between the teams at halftime.
Munster extended their lead with another Hanrahan penalty early on in the second half and the next score didn’t come until the 73rd minute when Jack Carty, who came on for Fitzgerald in the second half, cantered over for his side’s opening try after some excellent maul work from the Connacht pack. However, the Ireland out-half couldn’t land the difficult conversion which then left five points between the sides in the last few minutes.
Connacht had one last opportunity when they had possession in their own half but a superb Chris Cloete turnover, not for the first time on the night, allowed Munster to play out the final few seconds before they kicked the ball dead to secure an impressive away win.