Young Munster are heading in the right direction thanks to back-to-back Ulster Bank League wins, their latest success seeing them overcome Cork Constitution on a tight 9-6 scoreline at Temple Hill.
Australian full-back Ben Martin scored 21 points in Munsters' most recent victory at home to Old Belvedere, and he took that match-winning form on the road to Cork by slotting a decisive second half penalty.
Heavey rainfall before and during the game meant there was little open running rugby on show and it was up front where the visitors turned the screw, winning that all-important penalty at a 68th minute scrum which also saw Cork Con prop Gavin Duffy sin-binned.
The Cookies won 16-10 at Temple Hill last January and it was obvious their confidence is up at the moment as despite the difficult weather conditions, including a cross-field wind, they broke into an early 6-0 lead.
Martin landed a second minute penalty and out-half Willie Staunton added a neatly-taken drop goal, two minutes later, from 25 metres out. Constitution were back level by the 18th minute, though, thanks to two Darragh Lyons penalties.
Tom Tierney's men should have made better use of their territorial dominance for the remainder of the opening 40 minutes, while their front row of Max Abbott, Rory Burke and Gavin Duffy were on top at scrum time.
It remained all-square for half-time despite Young Munster prop Hugh McGrath seeing yellow for an off-the-ball push. The resulting penalty was missed by out-half Lyons, who was making his 160th All-Ireland League appearance.
The Leesiders had captain Gerry Hurley back at scrum half but the Cookies limited his influence and their forwards got the upper hand, improving their set piece game as conditions deteriorated in the second half.
Young Munster put pressure on the Cork Con lineout and Munster development prop Martin Kelly, who made quite an impact off the bench, outscrummaged Duffy to set up that crucial Martin penalty.
It was Kelly's first rugby rugby of the season at any level. The Kilkenny native has had to be patient while rehabbing a calf injury.
Martin's second successful place-kick proved to be the difference at the end of a dour Munster derby as John Staunton's charges produced a strong finish to seal the result.
The Limerick side's lineout maul became a real weapon as they forced Cork Con to infringe and the hosts were down to 13 men after flanker James Ryan was sin-binned for illegally collapsing a maul.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Young Munster head coach Staunton said: “Our home form has been good but we knew coming down today, if we were anyway serious about getting good performances, we needed to come down and win. Plus this is as close as it gets to a derby match for us because we don’t have any Limerick derbies in the league this year.
“Our lads have credit due to them because we were creaking in the first half at times and we made an awful lot of unforced errors.
“I don't think I can come away from the match and say we played well, because we didn't, but we adjusted to the conditions and we did our bread and butter basics very well.
“Our scrum came good, our lineout maul came good and we carried really hard in the middle of the field – Sean Rennison had a huge game after coming on and must have had ten carries.”
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)