Young Munster claimed their second big scalp in quick succession in the Ulster Bank League, with Brendan Guilfoyle’s late converted try steering them past Old Belvedere on Saturday.
Munsters, who outkicked Cork Constitution last weekend, knocked 'Belvo off the top of the Division 1A table with this gritty defeat. In the end, Alan Kingsley's conversion of Brendan Guilfoyle's late try proved decisive.
The perfect conditions at Anglesea Road gave both sides the opportunity to play expansive rugby, but handling errors and the high stakes involved made for some nervy passages of play.
Scrum half Kingsley kicked Young Munster into a fourth minute lead but despite having much of the early possession, the visitors failed to make it count.
Then, in a move reminiscent of his try off the back of a scrum against Lasdowne, Kingsley made a break off the back of the ruck outside the Belvedere 22, but was held up a metre short by the covering defence. When the ball was recycled, Munsters failed to convert an overlap and the ball went dead.
It was an aspect of their play that was repeated through the first half as four knock ons in the first half prevented Young Munster from getting into a real flow and then Belvedere came back into the game.
In the 32nd minute, lock Alan Trenier crossed the whitewash for Old Belvedere after nine phases of play. Conal Keane split the posts with the conversion, giving the home side a 7-3 lead. It was no more than they deserved.
As they began to dominate, they went through 11 phases in six minutes before eventually knocking the ball forward close to the line. Right on half-time, Belvedere conceded a penalty at a ruck which Kingsley knocked over for a 7-6 half-time scoreline.
The second half began with Belvedere on the attack. Daniel Riordan got the ball just outside his own 22 and passed it to David Mongan who, with a turn of speed, left the Munsters defence for dead before kicking ahead. Unfortunately for him, the cover got there and the ball was touched down for a 22-metre drop out.
But Belvedere indiscipline gave Munsters the chance to retake the lead. The hosts were once again penalised by referee Alan Lewis and Kingsley landed his third successful kick of the game to give them a 9-7 lead in the 57th minute.
Keane then opted to kick for the line when 'Belvo were awarded a penalty. After stout defence from Munsters, holding attack after attack from Belvedere at bay, Keane's drop goal gave the home side a 10-9 advantage.
But when Leo Auva'a gave away yet another penalty, the outstanding Kingsley nailed his fourth successful kick of the afternoon to move the Limerick men back in front.
The lead only lasted until the 64th minute when Auva'a made inroads into the Munsters 22. As Belvedere went through the phases, big prop Stewart Maguire touched down. Keane added the conversion to make it 17-12.
The indiscipline of Belvedere was to cost them again when Guilfoyle hit back in the 73rd minute.
After a cross-field kick was gathered by Riordan, referee Lewis gave a penalty for offside. Kingsley kicked for touch and when the Munsters pack won the ball on their own lineout, the maul rolled over over the line and Kingsley added the conversion for a two-point buffer.
Despite a late flurry from Belvedere, player-coach Andy Dunne failed to convert a drop goal attempt which grazed the wrong side of the post.
Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU)