MUNSTER produced a storming final quarter to ease to a precious 42-20, bonus point win over Connacht in their Guinness PRO12 interprovincial clash at Thomond Park thisSaturday night.
Anthony Foley’s third-placed side ran in six tries in all, three in the final 10 minutes, to boost their hopes of securing a home semi-final.
Munster held a slender 7-3 half-time lead over their local rivals following a poor opening half played out before an official attendance of 18,762.
However, Munster added five further tries to Billy Holland’s first half effort after the break, through Duncan Casey, Simon Zebo, centres Andrew Smith and Denis Hurley and finally Keith Earls to secure a maximum five-point haul from the game.
The win leaves Munster in third place in the table, edged out a home semi-final by second-placed Ulster on scoring difference. The first of Munster’s remaining four regular season games will be against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday, April 11, at 7.30pm.
SCORERS: Munster: Billy Holland, Duncan Casey, Simon Zebo, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley, Keith Earls try each, Ian keatley three cons, JJ Hanrahan three cons. Connacht: Miah Nikora try, two cons, Shane O’Leary try, Jack Carty two pens.
MUNSTER: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley (capt), Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; John Ryan, Eusebio Guinazu, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland; Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Duncan Casey, Dave Kilcoyne, BJ Botha, Paddy Butler, Jack O’Donoghue, Neil Cronin, JJ Hanrahan, Ronan O’Mahony.
CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Danie Poolman, Conor Finn, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You, Michael Kearney, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon (capt), Eoghan Masterson, George Naoupu. Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Ronan Loughney, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, John Cooney, Shane O’Leary, Miah Nikora.
REFEREE: Leighton Hodges (Wales)