MUNSTER cemented their grip on second place in the Guinness Pro12 table after securing a hard-earned 10-7 victory over Glasgow Warriors at a sold-out Musgrave Park on Saturday night.
Second-placed Munster are now seven points clear of third-placed Ospreys in the battle to secure a home semi-final in the play-off series.
Munster have now just three regular season games remaining, beginning with next Saturday’s interprovincial clash with Ulster at Thomond Park, 3pm.
Munster got off to the perfect start when prop James Cronin muscled his way over from a couple of yards out in the fourth minute as the Munster pack battered the Glasgow defence.
Tyler Bleyendaal, who was forced off the field after taking a knock soon after, added the conversion in front of a capacity crowd of 8,008.
A 60th minute penalty from replacement Rory Scannell increased Munster’s half-time 7-0 lead to 10-0.
The home side had a try from leading try-scorer Ronan O’Mahony chalked off a few minutes earlier as match referee Nigel Owens judged the winger did not have control of the ball when grounding it.
Glasgow received a lifeline in the 68th minute when fleet-footed full-back Stuart Hogg touched down. Finn Russell converted to reduce Munster’s lead to three points.
However, Munster’s tenacious defence held firm in the closing minutes as Glasgoe chased the try and win they needed to boost their faltering play-off hopes.
SCORERS: Munster: James Cronin try, Tyler Bleyendaal con, Rory Scannell pen. Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg try, Finn Russell con.
MUNSTER: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Francis Saili, Jaco Taute, Ronan O'Mahony; Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Dave O'Callaghan, Billy Holland (capt), Jean Deysel, Conor Oliver, Jack O'Donoghue. Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Donnacha Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Angus Lloyd, Rory Scannell, Simon Zebo.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, Sila Puafisi, Brian Alainu'uese, Jonny Gray (capt), Rob Harley, Ryan Wilson, Adam Ashe. Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Alex Allan, D'arcy Rae, Scott Cummings, Chris Fusaro, Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne, Rory Hughes.
REFEREE: Nigel Owens (Wales)