Munster A’s British and Irish Cup title defence ended on Good Friday as Leinster claimed a 17-6 victory at Donnybrook with neither side hitting top gear.
While Munster got themselves into dangerous positions on a number of occasions in both halves, the Leinster defence stood firm as the hosts took the chances that came their way and that ultimately proved the difference.
Bill Johnston kicked two first-half penalties with Munster well in contention at the break as they trailed 7-6 with Ciarán Frawley converting Peadar Timmins’ try for Leinster. In a tight game, three minutes either side of the hour proved crucial with the hosts scoring 10 points.
First, Frawley kicked a penalty just before the hour before full-back Jack Kelly touched down on 62 minutes as Frawley’s conversion gave Leinster an 11-point cushion.
Needing a try, Munster threw everything at the Leinster defence in the final 18 minutes but couldn’t find a way to the whitewash.
A bright start for Munster saw the pack earn a scrum penalty in the opening five minutes with Johnston making no mistake to give the visitors an early 3-0 lead.
Leinster responded well with centre Timmins touching down from close range after 12 minutes as the hosts went through the phases deep in Munster territory with Frawley also on target with his first kick.
In a lively opening, Munster scored again just past the quarter-hour as Johnston punished a Leinster offside with a long-range penalty.
The weather soon took a turn for the worse and Frawley hit the post with a penalty on 32 minutes as neither side were able to add to their score before the interval with the game evenly poised at the break.
A knock-on deep in Leinster territory put paid to a Munster move as they had the hosts under pressure early in the second half and those 10 points for Leinster around the hour mark proved decisive as Munster A’s B&I Cup title defence ended in Dublin.
Kevin O’Byrne and Jeremy Loughman both picked up injuries in the game and will be assessed by the medical team.
Munster A: Stephen Fitzgerald (Jack Power, 60); Calvin Nash, Dave Johnston (C), Alex McHenry, Ronan O’Mahony (Alan Tynan, 72); Bill Johnston, Jack Stafford (John Poland, 63); Jeremy Loughman (inj Brian Scott, 54), Kevin O’Byrne (inj Mike Sherry, 39), Brian Scott (Ciaran Parker, 46); Darren O’Shea, Sean O’Connor; Dave O’Callaghan (Jack Daly, 79), Conor Oliver, Jack O’Sullivan (John Foley, 66).