Pro12: Munster 22-16 Connacht

JJ Hanrahan is tackled by Eoin Griffin as Robbie Henshaw lurks in the background

MUNSTER (13) 22

Hanrahan 5


Parks 3

JJ Hanrahan scored all Munster's points as the Pro12 leaders beat Connacht in the derby clash although the visitors snatched a bonus point in injury-time.

Two Dan Parks penalties gave Connacht a 6-3 lead but Hanrahan's try after errors by the Connacht fly-half enabled Munster to move 13-6 up by the break.

Three more Hanrahan kicks extended the margin to 22-9 by the 76th minute.

However, Connacht's injury-time rally produced a try for Dave Heffernan with Park kicking the tricky conversion.

Hanrahan, among only two Munster players to retain their starting places from last weekend's win over Scarlets, nudged the home side into a ninth-minute lead but two Parks penalties had the visitors ahead by the 16th minute as the rain fell at Thomond Park.

However, Parks was doubly at fault for Hanrahan's 20th-minute try as his poor clearance kick fell to Johne Murphy before the ex-Scotland player left a big gap for the Munster fly-half to run in the try.

Hanrahan added the conversion and slotted another three points in the 29th minute after Robbie Henshaw had been harshly adjudged to have produced a high tackle on the Munster fly-half.

Trailing 13-6 at the break, things went from bad to worse for Connacht as Frank Murphy's sin-binning for tackling James Cronin without the ball gifted another three points to Hanrahan.

The margin was 13 points by the 50th minute as Hanrahan kicked a further straightforward penalty after respective props Cronin and Nathan White had been sin-binned following an exchange of slaps.

Parks cut Munster's lead to 10 thanks to a penalty at the hour mark as the dynamic Kieran Marmion's introduction to scrum-half boosted the visitors.

However, Connacht's attempt to generate further momentum was then ruined by indiscipline as replacement Aly Muldowney was penalised for an unnecessary stamp in a ruck as Marmion was about to deliver the ball out wide.

Another Hanrahan penalty restored a 13-point advantage for Munster but Connacht snatched a bonus point in injury-time as Parks slotted a tricky conversion in the driving rain after replacement Heffernan's try.

Munster's win extends their lead at the top to eight points over the Ospreys while Connacht stay 11th - three points ahead of bottom club Zebre.

Munster: D Hurley; K Earls, J Murphy, J Downey, R O'Mahony; JJ Hanrahan, D Williams; J Cronin, N Scannell, J Ryan; Donncha O'Callaghan, D Foley; P Butler, S Dougall, J Coughlan

Replacements: A Cotter for Butler 52, S Archer for Ryan 60, B Holland for Foley 69, CJ Stander for Dougall 47, G Hurley for Williams 60, J Holland for Hanrahan 77, I Dineen for Murphy 60.

Connacht: G Duffy; F Carr, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy; D Parks, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White; M Kearney, C Clarke; A Browne, J Muldoon, E McKeon.

Replacements: D Heffernan for Harris-Wright 76, D Buckley for Wilkinson 50, R Ah You for Browne 52, A Muldowney for Kearney 56, G Naoupu for McKeon 60, K Marmion for Murphy 53, J Carty for Henshaw 76, D Leader for Griffin 56.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)

Top Stories