In appaling conditions Munster, led by John Kelly in his final game, beat Connacht 17 – 0 with a try from Ireland and Munster backrow Denis Leamy sealing the game at Musgrave park.
A try from Ireland back row Denis Leamy clinched the Magners League spoils for Munster against Connacht in atrocious conditions at Musgrave Park.
Leamy flew in, 12 minutes from the finish, to kill off the brave challenge from the Connacht men who still have not beaten Munster since 1986.
Marking his 154th and final appearance in Munster red, John Kelly captained the province on a night when he was not called into action too many times as the forwards on both sides bore the brunt of the work.
Munster dominated the scrums from early on with the giant Tony Buckley again impressing. It was fitting that the game’s only try should come from a forward. Federico Pucciariello and Buckley combined to create the chance for Leamy.
Former Connacht fly-half Paul Warwick took the man-of-the-match award for his accurate kicks throughout and with Peter Stringer getting plenty of protection from his forwards, Warwick started punishing the visitors.
Connacht were disappointed not to take something from the game as their three-quarters moved the ball well in the wet and windy conditions but invariably the final pass went astray.
Warwick landed four penalties for the home side in an uneventful first half during which Connacht lost both Ofisa Treviravus and John Muldoon to injury and increasing their woes, they lost lock David Gannon to a 35th-minute yellow card.
Warwick’s four penalties handed Munster a 12-0 interval advantage but it did not seem enough considering the hosts had the benefit of the gale.
But with the forwards keeping it tight in the second half, Munster wrapped it up with Leamy’s try.
The best move of the opening period was engineered by Connacht late on when Danny Riordan began an attack that was eventually sealed off by some strong Munster defending.
Ian Dowling was stretchered off with a serious looking injury – an update is expected following a full check on his knee. In the end and despite game efforst by Johnny O’Connor and gavin Duffy to lead for Connacht it will be a game remembered for the awfulness of the conditions and for being the final chapter in the story of one of Munster’s great servants.