Four-try Munster beat Connacht
Munster ran in four tries to secure a vital bonus point as they beat Connacht 32-23 in the RaboDirect PRO12 at the Sportsgrounds in Galway on Saturday evening.
A late try from Patrick Butler sealed what could prove to be a crucial bonus point for Rob Penney’s side as they look to seal a home semi-final.
Butler’s effort followed earlier tries from Andrew Conway, Gerhard van den Heever and Denis Hurley, while out-half Ian Keatley scored 12 points with the boot.
Connacht battled gamely and scored three tries of their own through Matt Healy, Eoin McKeon and Danie Poolman but were unable to secure a losing bonus point for their efforts.
Miah Nikora put the first points on the board on 13 minutes with a well-taken penalty after Munster were penalised at the line-out.
Winger Andrew Conway then crossed for the visitors, with Keatley notching the first of three conversions to put Munster in front.
But Connacht hit back almost immediately, with Matt Healy touching down in the corner to restore their advantage.
Nikora was wide with the conversion attempt but Connacht were back in front at 8-7 after 20 minutes.
Two Keatley penalties followed before Gerhard van den Heever intercepted a loose pass on the 10-metre line and ran in to put real daylight between the sides.
Keatley converted to make it 20-8, but there was worse to follow for Connacht before the break as Denis Hurley added a third try on 38 minutes which Keatley again converted to leave the score 27-8 at half-time.
Eoin McKeon’s try on 53 minutes reduced the arrears. Nikora was wide with the conversion attempt but made amends ten minutes later with his second penalty of the evening to make it 27-16 with just over a quarter of an hour remaining.
Patrick Butler sealed the bonus point for the visitors and put the result beyond doubt with a fourth try with less than eight minutes remaining to ensure that Danie Poolman’s late score was merely a consolation for the home fans.