It was a game that will be remembered not just for all the honesty and commitment but for the number of yellow cards brandished by Ulster referee Brian Kerr.
He found culprits in Colm McMahon, Arthur Lyons and Richard Sweeney of Mary’s and Luke Russell, Ger Slattery and Neville Melbourne of Munsters.
In the end, the considerable advantage enjoyed by Munsters at scrummage time proved decisive although they should have led by more than a couple of Brian Haugh penalties at the interval.
A Marcus O’Driscoll drop goal five minutes into the second half kept Mary’s in touch but when referee Kerr awarded a penalty try to Munsters after Arthur Lyons was guilty of a professional foul, it looked as if the home side was on the way to a second important win.
However, a succession of yellow cards coincided with Mary’s best spell and they went 14-13 ahead with a fine try by number eight Kevin Sheehan and two penalties and a conversion by Ray Crotty. However, with four minutes to go, Munsters were awarded a penalty and Haugh kept his nerve to knock over the winning points.
“That was as hard and exciting a game as you could wish to see”, said Young Munster forward coach John ‘Paco’ Fitzgerald.
“We went at them at the scrum and got off to a great but gradually lost momentum while all the yellow cards made life very hard for both teams. Wins away to Shannon and now another here at Clifford Park are great for confidence.”
Meanwhile, Garryowen notched a notable 23-13 success at Clontarf while UL Bohemians saw off Cork Constitution 23-15. Barry Keeshan piloted Dolphin to a 21-15 victory over Old Belvedere while in Division 1B, Malone’s 60-3 thumping of Ballymena puts them top of the pile alongside UCD, who hammered Bruff 42-10.
YOUNG MUNSTER: C O’Hanlon; D Lespierre, M Doyle, L Kuntz, D O’Neill; G Quinn-McDonogh, B Haugh; G Flaherty, G Slattery, D Cantillon, G Duggan, D Gallagher, C Liston, L Russell, N Melbourne.
Rotating replacements: M Madden, S Burke, H McGrath, P Fitzgerald.
ST MARY’S COLLEGE: C Hogan; R Crotty, M O’Driscoll, R O’Loughlin, D Hudson; A Burke, M Darcy; C McMahon, Richard Sweeney, Rob Sweeney, K Ruddock, G Logan, D Kelleher, G Austin, K Sheehan.
Rotating replacements: F Dillon, P. Starrett, K Haupt, A Lyons.
Referee: B Kerr (IRFU).