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RaboDirect PRO 12: Munster battle past Connacht
A first half penalty try proved to be the difference as Munster defeated Connacht 16-12 in tough conditions in Galway.
Munster crucially struck for 10 unanswered points late in the first half while Connacht hooker Jason Harris-Wright was in the sin-bin.
Ian Keatley converted a penalty try and added his second penalty, handing Rob Penney's men a 13-6 interval lead with Dan Parks booting a brace of penalties for Connacht.
Continuing the recent spate of quickly awarded penalty tries, a close-in scrum saw the seven-man Connacht pack lose ground and referee Dudley Phillips signalled for a penalty try.
Keatley converted the 37th minute effort and rewarded a second ground-gaining scrum from Munster near halfway by landing a crisply struck late penalty.
The run of penalties against was beginning to hurt the westerners, with Keatley nudging over his fourth successful kick on the resumption.
Eoin McKeon won a lineout to set up the Connacht forwards for a series of pick and goes and Parks popped over a close range penalty for a 16-9 scoreline.
A drop goal from 25 metre range from Parks put just four points between the sides, the opportunity coming after young number 8 Eoin McKeon ran hard from turnover ball.
With Mike McCarthy and replacement Michael Swift having more of an impact, Connacht's tails were suddenly up and Munster centre James Downey soon saw yellow for a high tackle on McCarthy.
Parks missed the resulting penalty though and moments later the covering Peter Stringer did just enough to put George Naoupu off as the pair dived for a bouncing ball inside the Munster in-goal area nine minutes from time.
After surviving that late scare, Munster held their ground and their late control of possession wound down the clock for another hard-fought inter-provincial victory.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|TBC||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com