Four penalties from Ian Madigan and a single effort from Fergus McFadden were not enough for Leinster as they lost to Munster in Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 derby match at Thomond Park…Matt O’Connor post-match reaction…
Man-of-the-match Ian Keatley did most of the damage for Munster as he created the game's only try for Keith Earls and kicked four penalties and a conversion.
Leinster led early on through the boot of Ian Madigan who also had the visitors leading 15-13 midway through the second half.
However, two closing penalties from Keatley wrapped up Munster's first win over their provincial rivals since 2011 league final at the same Limerick venue.
Speaking afterwards, Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor said: "We probably didn't get our game going. We didn't put enough pressure on Munster in the right areas of the field and full credit to them, they're a good side and probably deserved it.
"Munster did very well to nullify us at the breakdown and we didn't have enough ball to put them to the sword. We had a couple of chances late on but weren't good enough to take them.
"It was one of those games that could have gone either way, like most derbies it was hard-fought and it was physical and there wasn't much in it at the end of the day. We'll regroup and go with a really good attitude to the Ospreys next Saturday.
"(The injury to Lote Tuqiri) is disappointing. I thought he played really well tonight. He strained that (hamstring) a couple of weeks ago against Glasgow and that looked pretty significant. We'll probably be without him for a couple of weeks."
Leinster took a third minute lead in tonight's pre-Heineken Cup duel, with a brave catch from Rob Kearney setting them up for some strong early phases – the product of which was a successful Madigan penalty from the 10-metre line.
Munster had to wait for a chance to respond, a period of loose handling and messy scrums doing little to lift the tension both on and off the pitch.
French referee Romain Poite penalised Leinster at the first two scrums, but the hosts were unable to profit from Keatley's clever pass back inside that released Donnacha Ryan into the 22.
Keatley's radar was off cue though when he knocked a very kickable 15th minute penalty wide off the right hand post, with Earls' excellent chase and first-up hit on Dave Kearney in the build-up deserving of the three points.
Three minutes later Madigan hit the post padding with a penalty shot from just inside the Leinster half, but Cian Healy soon forced Stephen Archer to drop a scrum closer to the Munster uprights and Madigan made it 6-0.
Munster marched downfield on the back of a Peter O'Mahony-won penalty at the breakdown and they got the decision at a subsequent scrum, allowing Keatley to get them off the mark from the kicking tee.
The Munster out-half took centre stage approaching the interval, sparking the long range break that led to Ian Madigan's sin-binning and Earls' subsequent try owed much to the accuracy of Keatley's booming cross-field kick.
Earls had gone close to scoring just moments earlier, Dave Kearney scrambling back to deny him but at the ensuing ruck Madigan came in at the side to play the ball and Poite reached for his yellow card.
Munster swiftly made their numerical advantage count, mauling up close from a lineout before Keatley booted the ball wide to the lurking Earls who gathered on the right wing and deftly dodged past Rob Kearney to score.
Rob Penney's charges wanted to build on that try but Leinster's pack carved out a late penalty for Fergus McFadden – kicking in Madigan's absence – to slot from inside the 22, making it a one-point game at the break (10-9).
Munster had to replace their captain O'Mahony, who shipped a knee to the head, but they kept on course thanks to a well-struck Keatley penalty early in the second half.
The play remained scrappy for the most part, Leinster trying to work winger Kearney into space before Keatley miscued a long range drop goal effort.
Jamie Heaslip and Healy combined to get Leinster back into scoring range, their hard work helping to earn a penalty which Madigan stuck between the posts from close range.
He nudged Matt O'Connor's side back in front from further out in the 55th minute, after Archer was adjudged to have blocked Madigan as he chased his own chip over halfway.
Leinster's 15-13 advantage was quickly erased by Keatley nearing the hour mark and Munster looked to have gained a psychological edge when they marched a scrum forwards – with replacement front rowers James Cronin and Damien Varley earning the praise for winning the penalty.
The resulting kick was sent home by Keatley, giving the hosts some much-needed breathing space at four points up.
Leinster served warning of their continuing threat with a fine break from Lote Tuqiri, who deputised for Brian O'Driscoll (calf) at outside centre.
However, Tuqiri unfortunately had to be replaced with six minutes left having pulled his hamstring. A loose ball at a Munster ruck in the Leinster 22 allowed the Australian to break free from deep, but his leg gave way and the opportunity was lost.
The defending RaboDirect PRO12 champions were unable to threaten the Munster defence in the dying minutes and Munster, with a fit-again Paul O'Connell driving them forward, had a late penalty miss from Keatley before they were confirmed as winners.
MUNSTER SCORERS: K. Earls (1 try), I. Keatley (1 conversion and 4 penalties)
LEINSTER SCORERS: I. Madigan (4 penalties), F. McFadden (1 penalty)
MUNSTER: F Jones; K Earls, C Laulala, J Downey, S Zebo; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilycoyne, M Sherry, S Archer, D Ryan, P O’Connell, P O’Mahony CAPTAIN, N Ronan, J Coughlan.
REPLACEMENTS: D Varley, J Cronin, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, C Murray, JJ Hanrahan, D Hurley.
15: Rob Kearney
14: Fergus McFadden (Luke Fitzgerald, 55)
13: Lote Tuqiri (Jimmy Gopperth, 74)
12: Gordon D’Arcy
11: Dave Kearney
10: Ian Madigan
9: Eoin Reddan (Isaac Boss, 55)
1: Cian Healy (Jack McGrath, 64)
2: Sean Cronin (Aaron Dundon, 68)
3: Mike Ross (Martin Moore, 68)
4: Mike McCarthy
5: Devin Toner
6: Kevin McLaughlin
7: Sean O’Brien (Dominic Ryan, 64)
8: Jamie Heaslip CAPTAIN
REPLACEMENT NOT USED: Rhys Ruddock.
REFEREE: Romain Poite (FFR), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Stuart Gaffikin, Michael Black (both IRFU), TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU).