In a tough encounter against Welsh opponents, Neath, O' Gara opened the scoring with two penalties before Jarvis brought the deficit back to make it 6-3 after thirteen minutes. O' Gara widened the advantage twice again with penalties, before he was forced to retire from the game with an ankle injury. Holland moved in to cover the out-half position.
Jarvis brought Neath closer again with a drop goal after 32 minutes but Alan Quinlan made a fantastic run and carried the ball 40 metres to go over the line for the first try of the game. Staunton converted to give Munster a lead of 19-6, one which they would never relinquish. Another penalty goal by Staunton before half time made it 22-6, and the teams went in after six minutes of extra time.
Neath were first to score in the second half with Jarvis scoring a penalty to close the gap between the teams. Munster answered with a Marcus Horan try which Staunton converted. The score, 29-12. Four minutes later Henderson heralded his return when he danced around no less than five Neath players to score Munster's third try of the game.
Stringer and Storey found themselves in the sin bin after 68 minutes. Munster gradually introduced all their substitutes and Staunton scored another penalty giving Munster a 25 point advantage in the dying minutes. Heath snatched a consolation try when Alan Jones went over in the corner making the final score 37-17.
Captain, Jim Williams, was delighted with the win. "We have learned from past experience. It was important to start well and in the first half we defended as planned and were well composed and this showed in the standard of play"
Commenting on O' Gara's injury and the impact his departure had on the team he said: "When Ronan went we changed around a bit and kept things tighter and didn't take anything on the back foot."
He felt that the Gloucester match was the best preparation for today's game. "We definitely drew off the momentum of the win again Gloucester and that showed on the pitch. The win is very important to us as the Celtic league is a great competition and there are good sides like the one we played today. We are now ready for Leicester."
Munster 37 Neath 17
Munster Tries: Quinlan, Horan, Henderson. Cons: Staunton 2. Pens: O'Gara 4, Staunton 2.
Neath Tries: A. Jones. Pens: Jarvis 3. Drop goal: Jarvis.
J Staunton; J Kelly, M Mullins, J Holland, M Lawlor; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, M O'Driscoll, D O'Callaghan, J Williams (capt), A Quinlan, A Foley.
Reps: J Blaney, M Cahill, M Galwey, D Leamy, M Prendergast, R Henderson, K Keane.
A Durston; G Morris, J Storey, D Tiueti, S Williams; L Jarvis, A Moore; D Jones, B Williams, A Jones, A Newman, G Llewellyn (capt), A Mocelutu, B Sinkinson, N Bonner-Evans.
Reps: A Bateman, S Connor, S Tandy, A Matthews, R Phillips, L Bateman, A Millward.
Munster - Celtic League Champions!