The holders of the Interprovincial title battled manfully in difficult circumstances, but Ulster deservedly grabbed an injury time try to give them a winning margin that better reflected their superiority.
Despite the territorial advantage, Ulster had to rely on a penalty goal 27 minutes into the second half from James Shiel to push them into the lead and then had to wait until the dying seconds for Mark McCrea to go in for a try through an exhausted defence and give Shiels an easy conversion attempt.
Munster joint coach Terry Kingston said: “We had the occasional chance but were unable to mount any degree of pressure. It was disappointing to concede a try at the end of all that hard work, but I suppose the amazing thing was that we were able to hold out for so long.
“Our defence was very good and it really had to be in the face of all that pressure. Overall, I don’t think we can have any complaints at the end of the day.”
It was fitting McCrea, the best back on the pitch along with winger Kyle Corrigan, finished the job.
Although wind, rain and soggy pitch was hardly conducive to good rugby, particularly at this level, McCrea threatened on numerous occasions and only Munster’s Mark O’Driscoll threatened to emulate him although Ronan O’Sullivan kicked well.
Up front, Munster didn’t do badly in the circumstances and back rowers, captain Barry O’Mahony and David Sherry, second rows Don and Neilus Keogh and prop Michael O’Leary did put in an enormous effort. Sherry was particularly conspicuous and brought off a number of hits, stopping Ulster’s Michael Ferguson three times as the big prop rumbled towards the line.
Munster dominated the lineout but unfortunately most of the good ball they won was in their own territory.
Despite a bright start in both halves, they were left to defend their territory a little too much. Ulster grew progressively stronger and while Shiels missed a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring midway through the second half, he atoned with a more difficult penalty before converting that late try.
Munster take on Leinster at Thomond Park on Wednesday week.
: P Glover (Sullivan Upper), R Fegan (RBAI), M McCrea (Belfast High School) C Bruce (Portora), K Corrigan (Methodist College), J Shiels (Royal School Dungannon), A Barholomew (Royal School Armagh), M Ferguson (Sullivan Upper), T Frazer (Wallace High School), N. Simpson (Belfast Royal Academy), D McIlveen (Campbell), A Linton (Ballymena Academy), R Hamilton (Methodist College), D Pollock (Royal School Dungannon) captain; W Faloon (Royal School Armagh).
: K Doyle (CBC), C Aherne (Crescent), M O’Driscoll (Rockwell), E Broderick (St Munchin’s), P Thompson (Rockwell), R O’Sullivan (Crescent), S Cronin (PBC), M O’Leary (PBC), G Slattery (St Munchins), A Cotter (St Munchins), N Keogh (St Munchins), D Keogh (CBC), D Gardiner (St Munchins), D Sherry (Ard Schol Ris), B O’Mahony (Crescent) captain.
: P Rowley (Rockwell) for Cronin, P Carroll (Crescent) for Thompson (both 65).
: D Keane (Leinster).