Pro14: Leinster grind out 13-6 win over Munster in Limerick
|Guinness Pro14: Munster v Leinster|
|Munster (3) 6|
|Pens: Hanrahan 2|
|Leinster (13) 13|
|Tries: E Byrne Con: R Byrne Pens: R Byrne 2|
Leinster held of Munster and claimed inter-provincial bragging rights with a gritty 13-6 win at Thomond Park.
Ed Byrne's 10th minute try was the decisive score as a strong wind played havoc with both sides' kicking games.
Ross Byrne kicked two penalties as Leinster scored all their points in the first half before JJ Hanrahan reduced Munster's deficit twice from the tee.
The losing bonus point is enough to see Munster move to the top of Pro14 Conference B.
Leinster, undefeated in all competitions this season, made use of having the wind at their backs for the opening 40 minutes to carve out a 13-3 lead by half-time.
On eight minutes Ross Byrne's excellent grubber kick sent the reigning Pro14 champions into Munster territory, and from the line-out Leinster moved infield before prop Ed Byrne darted over from close range.
The wind was undoubtedly having a huge impact on proceedings with Munster struggling to exit their own 22, while Byrne twice punished their indiscipline to open up a 13-point lead.
Hanrahan's penalty with the last act of the half saw the hosts head into half-time with a spring in their step, with the knowledge that they would have favourable conditions after the break.
Munster were further buoyed by the introduction of Joey Carbery on 57 minutes, in what was the fly-half's first outing since Ireland's World Cup quarter-final defeat by New Zealand.
It did not take long for Carbery to make an impact, with a wonderfully judged kick from his own half pinning Leinster back onto their own five-metre line.
However, as has so often been the case this season, Leinster's defence stood firm against heavy and constant pressure as captain Scott Fardy produced a crucial turnover underneath his own posts with just four minutes remaining.
Munster: Haley; Goggin, Arnold, R Scannell, Daly; Hanrahan, McCarthy; Kilcoyne, O'Byrne, Archer; Wycherley, Holland (capt); O'Donnell, Cloete, O'Donoghue.
Replacements: Barron, Loughman, Knox, O'Shea, O'Sullivan, Cronin, Carbery, Nash.
Leinster: Keenan; Byrne, J O'Brien, C O'Brien, Lowe; R Byrne, Gibson-Park; E Byrne, Tracy, Porter, Toner, Fardy (capt), Murphy, Connors, Doris.
Replacements: Cronin, Dooley, Aungier, Molony, Penny, Osborne, Frawley, T O'Brien