Hooker Denis Fogarty scored his first ever Celtic League tries as Munster kept their hopes of a League and Heineken Cup double alive with a 41-25 win at the Borders.
CELTIC LEAGUE: Friday, April 28
BORDER REIVERS 25 MUNSTER 41, Netherdale (Att: 1,266)
Scorers: Borders: Stuart Moffat, Simon Danielli, James King; Cons: Calum MacRae 2; Pens: MacRae 2
Munster: Tries: Denis Fogarty 2, Christian Cullen, David Wallace, Ian Dowling; Cons: Jeremy Manning 3, Ronan O'Gara 2; Pens: Manning 2
Declan Kidney's side condemned Reivers to their fourth consecutive defeat and in the process dented their hopes of a place in Europe's premier cup competition next season. In the end, it was Munster's ability to turn possession and territory into points that proved to be the crucial factor and they needed only a couple of minutes to open the scoring.
The 22-year-old Fogarty showed good strength to hold off two challenges before crashing over for the opening try, that was converted by out-half Jeremy Manning. In response, Reivers' Calum MacRae hit an upright with his first penalty attempt but was on target with his second. However, that score was cancelled out by a 35-metre effort from Manning when the hosts were penalised for obstruction.
MacRae then notched a further penalty for his personal tally before Munster demoralised the home support with two tries in quick succession. Fogarty grabbed his second from a lineout with the help of his pack then former All Black Christian Cullen marked his comeback from injury with an opportunist score.
Manning converted both but Reivers remained in tuch following a try from Stuart Moffat after some good work from Nikki Walker. MacRae added the conversion. There was still time before the break for Manning to ensure that Munster turned around with a 27-13 lead.
Reivers rallied again after the restart with Simon Danielli notching a 45-metre score with the half only a couple of minutes old. But any hopes of a comeback were all but snuffed out by futher scores for Munster from David Wallace and Ian Dowling, both of which were converted by replacement out-half Ronan O'Gara.
The hosts grabbed the final try of the vening through James King with MacRae converting but it was too little, too late.
TIME LINE: 2 minutes - Munster try: Denis Fogarty - 0-5; conversion: Jeremy Manning - 0-7; 16 mins - Borders penalty: Calum MacRae - 3-7; 17 mins - Munster penalty: Jeremy Manning - 3-10; 21 mins - Borders penalty: Calum MacRae - 6-10; 25 mins - Munster try: Denis Fogarty - 6-15; conversion: Jeremy Manning - 6-17; 28 mins - Munster try: Christian Cullen - 6-22; conversion: Jeremy Manning - 6-24; 33 mins - Borders try: Stuart Moffat - 11-24; conversion: Calum MacRae - 13-24; 38 mins - Munster penalty: Jeremy Manning - 13-27; Half-time - Borders 13 Munster 27; 57 mins - Munster yellow card: Federico Pucciariello; 62 mins - Borders try: Simon Danielli - 18-27; 65 mins - Munster try: David Wallace - 18-32; conversion: Ronan O'Gara - 18-34; 65 mins - Borders yellow card: Stephen Scott; 69 mins - Munster try: Ian Dowling - 18-39; conversion: Ronan O'Gara - 18-41; 80+2 mins - Borders try: James King - 23-41; conversion: Calum MacRae - 25-41; Full-time - Borders 25 Munster 41
BORDER REIVERS: Stuart Moffat; Simon Danielli, Ban MacDougall, Calum MacRae, Nikki Walker; Gregor Townsend, Brendan McKerchar; Tommy McGee, Stephen Scott, Bruce Douglas (capt), Scott Macleod, Opeta Palepoi, John Dalziel, Andy Miller, Kelly Brown.
Replacements used: James King for MacDougall (21 mins), Paul Thomson for McGee (half time), Semo Sititi for Miller (65). Not used: Will Kay, Colin Stewart, Johnny Weston, Mark Blair.
MUNSTER: Christian Cullen; Anthony Horgan, Mike Mullins, Trevor Halstead, Ian Dowling; Jeremy Manning, Mike Prendergast; Frankie Roche, Denis Fogarty, Federico Pucciariello, Donncha O'Callaghan, Mick O'Driscoll, Stephen Keogh, David Wallace, Anthony Foley (capt).
Replacements used: John Hayes for Roche (3 mins), Ronan O'Gara for Mullins (half time), Trevor Hogan for O'Callaghan, John O'Sullivan for Wallace (both 65), Paul Devlin for Halstead (69), Jerry Flannery for Hayes (72), Frank Murphy for Manning (79).
Sin Bin: F Pucciariello (Munster) (57 mins), S Scott (Borders) (69)
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)