Connacht will look back with regret having failed to make use of decent possession while, crucially, Munster took the try-scoring chances that came their way.
In a forgettable first half, Gearoid Lyons kicked Munster ahead with a penalty but Dwayne Corcoran quickly levelled for the visitors.
Munster made a big breakthrough with the game’s opening try when they scorned an opportunity to kick for goal, and from the lineout ball full-back Stephen Fitzgerald got in for the touchdown which Lyons converted. Dogged Connacht stuck in and Corcoran kicked two penalties to Lyons one and the gap was down to 13-9 at the half-time.
Corcoran kicked another penalty early in the second half but Connacht were rocked when they conceded an intercept try to Steve McMahon. The Rockwell centre gathered 60m out and was fast enough to go all the way.
Corcoran gave Connacht hope again with a 59th minute penalty but Lyons responded with another successful kick three minutes later and Munster held out for the win.
Munster take on Leinster at Thomond Park on Wednesday (3pm) for what looks a winner-take-all clash following their 10-try 68-5 victory over Ulster at Donnybrook yesterday.
MUNSTER: S Fitzgerald (Ard Scoil Ris); R Deegan (Ard Scoil Ris), S McMahon (Rockwell), JJ O’Neill (Castletroy College), G O’Shea (Crescent College, captain); G Lyons (Crescent College), B Riley (Rockwell); L O’Connor (Christian Brothers College), L O’Halloran (St. Munchin’s), L McMahon (Crescent College); D Lane (PBC), M O’Donnell (Crescent Comprehensive); M Carey (PBC), D St Ledger (PBC), C Blake (Crescent College).
Replacements: S McCarthy (PBC) for McMahon (25), S McNulty (Rockwell College) for St Ledger (44), J Boland (Glenstal Abbey) for McNulty (51), D O’Connell (Rockwell) for O’Halloran (55), F Bradshaw Ryan (Ard Scoil Ris) and E O’Keeffe (St Nessan’s) for Lane and Fitzgerald (both 60), E Barry (Crescent Comprehensive) for Riley (69).
CONNACHT: C Evans (St Joseph’s Patrician College, Galway); F Stoneman (Coláiste Éinde, Galway), C Lowndes (Coláiste Iognáid, Galway), D Corcoran (Rice College, Westport, captain), P Glavey (Glenstal Abbey); S Tobin (Rice College, Westport), J Mitchell (St Joseph’s Patrician College, Galway); C Kyne (Coláiste Chroí Mhuire. Spiddal), P O’Toole (Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh), C Hansbury (Calasanctius College, Oranmore); A Broderick (St Joseph’s Patrician College, Galway), P Claffey (Portumna Community School); E Galvin (Marist College, Athlone), K Hastings (Scoil Muire agus Padraig, Swinford), J Codyre (Garbally College, Ballinasloe).
Replacements: C Laheen (Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew) for Galvin (29-30 temp). Laheen for Hansbury (35), M Kelly (Cistercian College Roscrea), H Hughes (Marist College, Athlone) for Claffey and Stoneman (both 44), C Gavin (Cistercian College Roscrea) for O’Toole (49), S Doyle (Moate Community School) for Evans (54), R Murphy (Ballinrobe Community School) for Hastings (57), C Keane (Presentation College, Headford) for Tobin (60).
Referee: N Connell (IRFU).