Munster remain top
PRO14 REPORT: Munster rules the roost at the top of Conference B, after they held on to claim a 19-14 win away at Connacht.
In a hotly-contested encounter, the boot of JJ Hanrahan was of vital importance to Munster as he kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Jack O’Donoghue scored Munster’s only try while Jack Carty crossed for Connacht in the closing stages but it wasn’t enough.
After a hard-fought opening period, Munster got their first points through a Hanrahan penalty but Connacht closed the gap when Conor Fitzgerald scored one of his own.
With twenty minutes on the clock, after a penalty advantage Hanrahan slotted his second penalty in front of goal.
Munster soon sparked into action and it was O’Donoghue who crossed the try line after a series of pick and goes while Hanrahan added the extras.
Connacht never gave in and added to their tally through Fitzgerald before Hanrahan claimed another three points.
A move just before the break saw Connacht make ground into the Munster 22 and it gave Fitzgerald a chance to reduce the deficit once again, which he duly took.
Hanrahan took his tally to 14 points when he kicked another penalty early in the second half.
Despite Connacht scoring their first try when Carty was released down the blindside with ten minutes remaining, Munster held firm.
Man of the match
The man at the heart of the team and dictating play for Munster was fly-half JJ Hanrahan.
In a crucial clash at the top of Conference B, his boot and the 14 points he scored ensured Munster came out on top.
Play of the day
In a game where tries were hard to come by, Connacht scored the better of the two when Jack Carty was released.
From a maul, Caolin Blade fed Carty down the blindside for him to dot down in the corner.
Pens: Fitzgerald 3
Pens: Hanrahan 4
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 John Porch, 13 Tom Daly, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Kyle Godwin, 10 Conor Fitzgerald, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Paul Boyle, 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 Quinn Roux (captain), 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Conor Kenny, 18 Dominic Robertson McCoy, 19 Joe Maksymiw, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Stephen Kerins, 22 Jack Carty, 23 Stephen Fitzgerald.
Munster: 15 Shane Daly, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Liam Coombes, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Craig Casey, 8 CJ Stander (captain), 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Gavin Coombes, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Kevin O’Byrne, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Keynan Knox, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Neil Cronin, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Sammy Arnold.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher, Paul Haycock (both Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
Report by @PRO14Official