Munster 19-9 Leinster

By Richard PetrieBBC Sport NI
Thomond Park action
Lifeimi Mafi and Ronan O'Gara combine to tackle Brian O'Driscoll

Munster secured victory over Irish provincial rivals Leinster in a keenly fought Magners League Grand Final.

Ronan O'Gara converted Doug Howlett's try and Jonathan Sexton responded with a penalty to leave Munster 7-3 ahead at the interval at Thomond Park.

Sexton kicked two penalties but an Earls try and a converted penalty try gave Munster victory.

Munster's win over their keen rivals denied Heineken Cup champions Leinster a league and cup double.

Sexton fluffed an early long-range penalty attempt and Munster then enjoyed a period of sustained pressure.

The home side's dominance paid off when Howlett touched down in the corner in the 12th minute.

Scrum-half Conor Murray fed Lifeimi Mafi, whose goose step bemused the Leinster defence, and Howlett crossed for the opening try.

O'Gara added the extra two points with an impressively struck conversion from the touchline against the wind.

Sexton replied with his first successful kick of the game in the 29th minute, a sweetly struck penalty between the posts.

A first half littered with turnovers ended with Munster enjoying a four-point advantage.

Leinster bossed the start of the second half but the besieged Munster defence held out stubbornly.

The pressure eventually told when Donncha O'Callaghan was sin-binned for not rolling away in front of the posts and Sexton knocked over the resulting penalty.

The Leinster fly-half kicked his third penalty midway through the half to nudge the Heineken Cup champions ahead for the first time.

Munster responded and Luke Fitzgerald made a vital tackle on Howlett as the Kiwi winger made for the line.

Munster regained the lead thanks to Earls' 66th-minute try.

O'Gara found Earls with a perfectly executed cross-field kick and the winger danced past Isa Nacewa and shrugged off a challenge from Shane Horgan before stretching to ground the ball.

O'Gara was unable to add the conversion and was also off-target with a penalty effort soon after as he skewed the ball right of the posts.

Howlett went on a breathtaking run through the Leinster defence but was unable to find a team-mate with the crucial pass and the chance was lost.

Munster were then awarded a penalty try after Leinster infringed at the scrum with one minute remaining, O'Gara converting.

Replacement Kevin McLaughlin went close to scoring a consolation try for the visitors but the video referee ruled that he had not grounded the ball over the line.

Nathan Hines suffered a similar fate as the video referee adjudged that he had been put into touch before crossing the line.

Leinster: I Nacewa; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, F McFadden, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, E Reddan; H Van der Merwe, R Strauss, M Ross, L Cullen (cpt), N Hines, S O'Brien, S Jennings, J Heaslip.

Replacements: A Dundon for Strauss (70), C Healy for van der Merwe (59), S Wright fro Ross (69), K McLaughlin for O'Brien (59), P O'Donohoe for Redddan (77).

Not used: D Toner, I Madigan, E O'Malley.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, K Earls; R O'Gara, C Murray; M Horan, D Varley, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell (cpt), D Ryan, D Wallace, J Coughlan.

Replacements: M Sherry for Varley (59), W du Preez for Horan (53), D Leamy for O'Callaghan (68), P Warwick for Jones (75).

Not used: S Archer, N Ronan, P Stringer, J Murphy.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Attendance: 26,100