Pro12: Leinster 16-13 Munster
|Leinster: 16 (10)|
|Try: Sexton Con: Sexton Pens: Sexton 3|
|Munster: 13 (6)|
|Try: J Holland Con: Holland Pen: Holland 2|
Leinster moved back to the top of the Pro12 table as they edged out Munster after the visitors declined a late penalty chance to snatch a draw.
As Munster produced late pressure, they won a penalty in front of the posts but prop Dave Kilcoyne took a tap penalty as he chased a try only to knock on.
Johnny Sexton scored all Leinster's points including a first-half try.
Johnny Holland's try helped Munster move 13-10 up but two more Sexton penalties proved enough for Leinster.
Leinster's win in the tense but stop-start contest moves them level on points with Connacht but Leo Cullen's side lead the table through having won more games.
Munster's failure to land more than a losing bonus point at the Aviva Stadium drops them to sixth in the table and struggling to qualify for the play-offs.
Kilcoyne gamble backfires on Munster
After a nervy contest where both teams struggled for fluency, the game finished amid high drama as replacement prop Kilcoyne's decision to take the tap penalty backfired in heartbreaking fashion for Munster.
Leinster looked to be comfortably running down the clock before Cian Healy's sin-binning for a no-arms tackle on Kilcoyne gave Munster a scent of victory in the 76th minute.
With the man advantage, Munster mauled their way to within inches of the Leinster line and referee Ian Davies inevitably blew for a penalty after home lock Devin Toner had been lucky not to be blown up moments earlier for offside.
But instead of Munster composure, Ireland international Kilcoyne opted for the quick tap and after almost losing control of the ball in his first movement, he then knocked on to effectively hand Leinster victory.
Had replacement fly-half Ian Keatley landed the penalty from in front of the posts, Connacht would have remained top of the table.
Fly-halves score all the points in tight contest
As defences dominated, the early scores came from the boot as Sexton's first penalty came either side of two successful Holland kicks.
However, Leinster exploited Robin Copeland's sin-binning just before the break as Sexton barged his way over the Munster line, with his head glancing off the base of the cushioned upright for good measure.
Sexton's conversion increased Leinster's lead to 10-6 at the break but his opposite number Holland replied in kind in the 47th minute to restore Munster's lead.
Munster's advantage was short-lived as a blatant Francis Saili infringement allowed Sexton to level within four minutes.
After Holland's replacement Keatley missed a good chance to restore Munster's advantage, Sexton made no mistake from 40 metres in the 64th minute although there was a suggestion that the Ireland fly-half had ignored the referee's time limit.
Then came the late drama which will be the main talking point from the contest.
Leinster: Zane Kirchner; Isa Nacewa (capt), Garry Ringrose, Ben Te'o, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Hayden Triggs, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Richardt Strauss for Cronin 50, Cian Healy for McGrath 68, Mike Ross for Furlong 63, Ross Molony for Triggs 63, Josh van der Flier for Murphy 50, Luke McGrath for Reddan 68, Ian Madigan for Sexton 76, Fergus McFadden for Kearney 68, McGrath for Kirchner 78.
Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Johnny Holland, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Donnacha Ryan, Billy Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, Tommy O'Donnell, CJ Stander (capt).
Replacements: Mike Sherry for Niall Scannell 48, Dave Kilcoyne for Cronin 48, John Ryan for Archer 72, Robin Copeland for Ryan 26, Jack O'Donoghue for O'Callaghan 64, Ian Keatley for Holland 56, Darren Sweetnam for Conway 75.
Not used: Tomas O'Leary