It had taken Jill Draper only 14 minutes to breach the hosts’ defence when she went in at the corner as a result of a clever overlap created by the good running of Lisa McDonagh and Emma Cleary.
Clare Rafferty converted a difficult kick.
Munster improved dramatically in the second period and two Rea kicks hauled them back into it at 7-6.
Connacht doggedly held on but Rea proved to be the calmest person in Tralee late on as her sweet kick made it over with just inches to spare.
MUNSTER: M Kelly (UL Bohemians); D Nic A Bhaird (Highfield), G Rea (Highfield), N Scully (Highfield), A Hutchings (UL Bohemians); L O’Mahony (Tralee), M Fehily (Highfield); F Hayes (UL Bohemians), A Desmond (Highfield), L Lyons (Fermoy), M Darcy (UL Bohemians), E Anthony (Highfield), R Ormond (Highfield), C Griffin (Tralee), L Guest (Highfield) (capt).
Replacements: K Sheehan (UL Bohemians) for Darcy (62), M Eviston (UL Bohemians) for Desmond (62).
CONNACHT: M Coyne (Galwegians); J Draper (Tullamore), L McDonagh (Galwegians), E Clery (Galwegians), E O’Mahony (Tralee); C Rafferty (Galwegians), M Healy (Galwegians); L Feely (Galwegians), C O’Connor (Tralee), R O’Reilly (Galwegians) (capt), R Breen (NUIG), C Cassidy (Portlaoise), M Sheridan (Tuam/Galwegians), H Cary (Galwegians), G Egan (St Mary’s College).
Replacements: E McMahon (NUIG/Galwegians) for Sheridan (55), N Fowley (Sligo) for Draper (inj. 59).
Referee: Helen O’Reilly.