Pro14: Munster 21-10 Glasgow

James Cronin beats Glasgow's Lee Jones to score Munster's second try
James Cronin beat Glasgow's Lee Jones to score Munster's second try
Pro14: Munster v Glasgow
Munster (13) 21
Tries: Scannell, Cronin Con: Bleyendaal Pens: Bleyendaal 3
Glasgow (0) 10
Try: Horne Con: Hastings Pen: Hastings

Munster cut Glasgow's lead at the top of Conference A in the Pro14 to 12 points after a comfortable win in Cork.

Niall Scannell and James Cronin scored tries as Munster boosted their hopes of beating Glasgow to a home semi-final.

After they were held scoreless in the first half, the Warriors clawed their way back to within three points but could not get any closer to winning.

George Horne's superb try gave the visitors some hope but Munster expertly finished the game in Glasgow territory.

Tyler Bleyendaal's long-range penalty was the only score of the final quarter as the Irish side were happy to concede possession instead of chasing a possible bonus point.

It was only the second Pro14 defeat of the season for Glasgow, which was a disappointing way for Rob Harley to mark his 178th appearance for the Warriors - making him their most capped player.

Glasgow visit another Irish province next week when they travel to Ulster, while Munster go to Murrayfield to take on Edinburgh.

Munster harness the conditions

Simon Zebo was given a hero's reception in what is likely to be his final appearance in his native Cork
Simon Zebo was given a hero's reception in what is likely to be his final appearance in his native Cork

Munster were forced into a change to their starting side just before kick-off as Andrew Conway was replaced on the wing by youngster Calvin Nash, 20, with Darren Sweetnam added to the bench.

Despite that late reshuffle, the home side adapted quickly to the blustery conditions in Cork while Glasgow struggled to get to grips with the strong breeze they were asked to play against for the opening half.

Bleyendaal put Munster on the board first after an initial kick to the corner had led to another Glasgow infringement in front of the posts, giving the returning fly-half an easy penalty.

The home side thought they had scored the opening try just minutes later but Scannell was penalised for a double movement in his attempt to get over the line.

The hooker made no mistake with his next chance in the 24th minute as he burst off the back of a rolling maul before reaching for the line to clinch a score that was eventually cleared by the television match official before Bleyendaal converted.

Glasgow's best chance of the first half came from a brilliant sidestep by Matt Fagerson, with the powerful number eight racing from deep within his own half into the Munster 22.

The Warriors recycled quickly and spread the ball to the right wing where it took a superb tackle by Alex Wootton to deny Matt Smith a try in the corner.

In a further blow for Dave Rennie's side, Bleyendaal harnessed the wind to land a massive 40-metre penalty, leaving Munster with a 13-0 half-time lead.

Warriors fight back

Rob Harley led Glasgow out on his 178th appearance for the club
Rob Harley led Glasgow out on his 178th appearance for the club

The visitors began the second half strongly and reduced Munster's advantage to three points inside the opening seven minutes, thanks to a pair of brilliant breaks by Sam Johnson and Lee Jones.

From the restart, Johnson gathered and burst through two attempted tackles and surged into Munster territory before the scrambling defence conceded a straightforward penalty to that allowed Adam Hastings to put his side on the scoreboard.

The visitors now had the momentum and stunned Munster with their first try in the 47th minute when Jones made a scything break up the middle before finding Horne on his shoulder and the scrum-half was left with an easy run in.

The Irish province were on the back foot but a moment of carelessness allowed them to regain the initiative.

Horne did not realise that the ball had squirted out of the base of a ruck and substitute hooker Rhys Marshall hacked the ball clear before prop Cronin beat Jones in the scramble to ground the ball over the line.

Bleyendaal missed the conversion but Munster thought they had scored a third try just minutes later when Nash dived acrobatically over the line - only for the TMO to rule he had a foot in touch.

The hosts recovered from that disappointment to win another penalty for Bleyendaal to convert into the teeth of the wind.

Fit-again Richie Vernon was introduced off the bench after a lengthy Achilles injury as Warriors went in search of something to take home to Glasgow, but it was their hosts who finished the game camped in their opponents' half as they held on for a deserved victory.

Post-match reaction

Munster number eight Robin Copeland on Sky Sports: "We set a really good tempo in the first half. Conditions played a big part, we had a strong wind in the first half and we were able to build pressure."

"It's one-all now in the league this year - we lost away to them earlier in the season. So we'll take some confidence from this and bring it with us into next week [against Edinburgh]."

Teams

Munster: Zebo; Nash, Arnold, Goggin, Wootton; Bleyendaal, Hart; Cronin, Scannell, Archer; Kleyn, Holland (capt); O'Callaghan, Cloete, Copeland.

Replacements: Marshall (Scannell, 42), Kilcoyne (Cronin, 66), Scott (Archer, 73), Grobler (Copeland, 73), O'Donoghue (Cloete, 47), Williams (Hart, 77), Keatley (Bleyendaal, 68), Sweetnam (Nash, 77).

Glasgow: Jackson; Jones, Johnson, Thomson, Tagive; Hastings, Horne; Kebble, Malcolm, Halanukonuka; McDonald, Cummings; Harley (capt), Smith, M Fagerson.

Replacements: Stewart (Malcom, 40), Allan (Kebble, 61), Z Fagerson (Halanukonuka, 55), Wynne (McDonald, 73), Fusaro (Smith, 58), Pyrgos (Horne, 58), Vernon (Hastings, 68), Matawalu (Tagive, 73).