Munster A edged their Leinster counterparts in an entertaining challenge between provinces at Thomond Park this afternoon.
While Munster fully deserved their victory and 21-3 early in the second half, Leinster came back to within six points with ten minutes remaining before an opportunist try by substitute Eoin O’Connor made sure for the home side.
A late Leinster try by Rob Russell converted by David Hawksworth left the outcome 26-22 in Munster’s favour.
The first half was highlighted by a pair of superb tries by Munster centre Alex McHenry and scrum-half Neil Cronin.
McHenry struck midway through as he displayed an impressive turn of speed combined with delightful footwork to beat a couple of Leinster defenders forty metres out before racing over in the corner. Out-half Bill Johnston converted with a fine kick from near touch.
And right on the stroke of half time, Cronin picked up a loose ball and jinked past a couple of defenders before making the try line, Johnston again adding the points from a difficult angle to put Munster 14-3 in front at the break. Leinster’s only score of the opening period was a close-range penalty by out-half Harry Byrne.
Munster went 21-3 ahead ten minutes after the restart with another smashing try, this time touched down by winger Calvin Nash, substitute Ian Keatley converting. It was then Munster’s turn to defend and they couldn’t keep Scott Penney and Dan Sheehan forcing their way for two tries, one converted by Harry Byrne to make the score 26-20.
But Eoin O’Connor’s try restored Munster’s eleven point advantage meaning that Rob Russell’s last minute try converted by David Hawksworth didn’t affect the eventual outcome.
Munster A: A Wootton; C Nash, M More, A McHenry, R O’Mahony; B Johnston, N Cronin; L O’Connor, K O’Byrne capt, C Parker, S O’Connor, D O’Shea, D Hyland, C Oliver, G Coombes.
Replacements: M Sherry, S O’Hanlon, K Knox, E O’Connor, J Hodnett, J Stafford, I Keatley, L Coombes.
Leinster: R Russell; G Mullin, J O’Brien, D Hawkshaw, T O’Brien; H Byrne, P Patterson; P Dooley, R Kelleher capt, V Abdaladze, O Dowling, J Murphy, M Moloney, S Penny, R Watters.
Replacements: D Shanahan, M Milne, J Aungier, B Deeney, C Prendergast, C Foley, L Turner, H Conway.
Referee Stuart Gaffikin (Ulster).