Young Munster remain at the head of proceedings in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League after Saturday’s narrow home win over Lansdowne.
A great start and a dramatic finish gave the table toppers their fifth win in sixth league outings, with Mike Ruddock’s gutsy Lansdowne side having to be content with a losing bonus point.
Out-half Willie Staunton was Munsters’ hero at Tom Clifford Park and inside the first five minutes, he had been successful with two penalty attempts.
Lansdowne number 10 Craig Ronaldson was on target with a subsequent penalty but Staunton landed his third to make it 9-3 for the home side after half an hour.
Merciffuly the torrential rain which had falled for hours beforehand stayed away during the game. The visitors went in front with the only try when winger Matt Healy, scoring his fourth of the campaign, got in after a lapse in the home defence. Ronaldson's conversion made it 10-9 at the interval.
Staunton missed a couple of penalties before he edged the Cookies ahead again with a surefooted strike. Lansdowne were unlucky when a penalty came back off the woodwork, but Ronaldson was back on target with a 22-metre effort when punishing Munsters for going offside.
As the visitors clung to their tight advantage, Young Munster's player-coach Mike Prendergast was wide with a drop goal effort and Staunton tried for points with two penalties from inside his own half.
Five minutes from the end, Staunton was wide with a penalty attempt from out on the touchline after Darragh O'Neill was illegally tackled.
But with time almost up and the Limerick outfit staring at defeat, Staunton proved his worth with his fifth penalty to earn a precious but flattering win against a Lansdowne side who must be wondering how they conceded so many penalties.
Referee: Eanna O'Dowd (IRFU)