Gerhard van den Heever scored a last minute try to earn Munster ‘A’ a precious bonus point as they beat Nottingham 30-15 at St. Mary’s RFC on Friday night.
Early tries from Denis Hurley and Gerhard van den Heever put Munster 'A' in the driving seat. but four Matt Jarvis penalties drew Nottingham level before late tries from Ronan O'Mahony and van den Heever secured the win and the all-important bonus point.
Plymouth Albion remain top of Pool 4 after their 39-3 win over Stirling at Brickfields and Munster 'A' will now need to better Plymouth's result when they travel to Stirling next week if they are to qualify for the British & Irish Cup quarter-finals as pool winners.
Both sides traded early penalties with Johnny Holland kicking Munster 'A' into an early lead before his Nottingham counterpart Matt Jarvis made it 3-3, with both penalties coming from infringements in the scrum.
The impressive Ivan Dineen set up the first try after 16 minutes as he burst through a gap in midfield before popping it back inside to his centre partner Hurley who touched down under the posts with Holland adding the conversion.
Dineen was replaced by Cian Bohane after he picked up an ankle injury not long afterwards.
Van den Heever opened his try-scoring account with Munster 'A' on 23 minutes as he pounced on a loose Nottingham pass on their left touchline to race away and touch down in the corner.
Holland was unsuccessful with the difficult conversion but Peter Malone's men were in complete control and leading 15-3.
Then slowly but surely that lead began to slip as Jarvis, who had clearly brought his kicking boots to the Limerick venue, took advantage of Munster indiscipline to kick three penalties before half-time and make it 15-12 at the break.
Another Jarvis penalty on 43 minutes brought the sides level but an injury to Tom Price halted proccedings for ten minutes as the medical staff took all the precautions and Price was stretchered off to warm applause from the crowd.
With the pressure on, Munster 'A' knew they needed to produce and a scrum penalty allowed out-half Holland to kick them back in front at 18-15.
Full-back O'Mahony soon finished off the province's third try when he dived on Holland's perfect chip through to touch down. Holland added the extras to O'Mahony's fifth British & Irish Cup try in as many games this season.
As the round 5 tie drifted past the 80-minute mark it looked like four points would be the reward for the home side's efforts but the exceptional Barry O'Mahony, who captained the side, broke down the right wing in the very last play and fed van den Heever who streaked into the corner for the bonus point score.
Holland was off target with the conversion but the bonus point was secured to set up a grandstand finish to the pool next Saturday.
Referee: Vlad Iordachescu (Romania)