Pro14 semi-final: Leinster 13-3 Munster - reigning champions book final place

Kelleher
Ronan Kelleher 28th minute try gave Leinster an advantage that they never surrendered
Guinness Pro14 semi-final
Leinster (10) 13
Try: R Kelleher Con: Sexton Pens: Sexton 2
Munster (3) 3
Pen: Hanrahan

Leinster will defend their Pro14 title in next Saturday's final having dispatched a wasteful Munster to claim a 13-3 semi-final win.

In a game that was a far cry from the free-flowing affair that the sides produced two weeks earlier, Leinster's victory was down to their clinical edge as they took points from the little time they spent in Munster's 22.

Ronan Kelleher scored the only try of the game before Munster's JJ Hanrahan missed two penalties that would have reduced Leinster's lead to a point.

The reigning champions will face either Edinburgh or Ulster - who meet in Saturday's second semi-final - for the chance to win the competition for the third straight year.

For Munster it is a third straight semi-final exit at the hands of Leinster, and a loss that brings their 2019-20 campaign to an end.

Having been forced to contend with a five-day turnaround, Munster could have been forgiven for showing signs of fatigue, but in truth their shortcomings did not appear to be a result of tired bodies.

Instead they were simply unable to convert their scoring chances while Leinster rarely wasted an opportunity.

Larmour
Leinster full-back Jordan Larmour was solid under the high ball amid wet conditions in Dublin

A torrential 10 minute downpour shortly before kick-off created slippery conditions for the players to contend with as Munster sought to test full-back Jordan Larmour under the high ball after the Ireland international appeared vulnerable in that area two weeks ago.

However Larmour rose to the challenge as Munster probed early on, taking an early lead through a Hanrahan penalty.

While action inside either 22 was at a premium, Munster enjoyed the better of the territory but were unable to break through Leinster's notoriously miserly defence with captain Jonathan Sexton producing a brilliant turnover to stop Damian de Allende bulldozing into Leinster territory.

Leinster take chances as Munster pass up golden opportunities

It took the holders the best part of half an hour to get close to the Munster try-line, but when they did make their move they showed the killer instinct that had helped them remain undefeated at this late stage of the season.

A kick to the corner was duly converted into a rolling maul for Kelleher to touch down and put Leinster in the ascendency.

In a game where chances were few and far between, Hanrahan's two missed penalties, both of which the Pro14 golden boot winner would have expected to land, were daggers through the heart of Munster's challenge.

Having passed up six potential points in four minutes, Munster were driven back by Leinster when the excellent Caelan Doris forced a turnover allowing Sexton to put two scores between the sides.

By the time replacement flanker Josh van der Flier was sin-binned with four minutes remaining, Munster had too much ground to make up as Leinster ran down the clock to win their 22nd consecutive game this season.

Leinster: Larmour; Keenan, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton (c), McGrath; Healy, R Kelleher, Porter, Toner, Fardy; Doris, Connors, Conan.

Replacements: Cronin, E Byrne, Bent, Baird, Van der Flier, Gibson-Park, R Byrne, O'Loughlin.

Munster: Daly; Conway, Farrell, de Allende, Earls; Hanrahan, Murray; Loughman, N Scannell, Archer; Beirne, Holland; O'Mahony (c), O'Donoghue, Stander.

Replacements: O'Byrne, Cronin, Ryan, Coombes, Cloete, Casey, R Scannell, Wycherley.

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