It’s a knock-on special as Leinster and Munster went head-to-head as live sport returned to the airwaves on KCLR Scoreline.
Leinster retained their Guinness PRO14 crown as they comfortably defeated their oldest foes Munster on a scoreline of 16-6 at the RDS.
In truth, the result was never in any serious doubt. Leinster played like a team that had seen it all before. It is after all their fourth consecutive PRO14 title.
On the other hand, Munster seemed overawed by the occasion. A combination of a pitiful record against their neighbouring province in recent times and a trophy drought that has lasted close to a decade was too much for them to overcome mentally on a night that had an all too familiar feeling for Munster players, coaches and supporters.
Ross Byrne opened the scoring early on for the hosts. The fly-half split the posts from a penalty that was awarded due to an infringement at the breakdown from their opponents.
Leinster’s early dominance showed no sign of coming to a halt as they put increased pressure on a Munster side whose sole focus had become mere survival for the first 20 minutes. Byrne transferred Leinster’s dominance into tangible reward as the number 10 slotted his second penalty of the decider to leave the score at 6-0.
Former Leinster man Joey Carberry responded for the 2011 winners with a penalty of his own to half the deficit and provide some much-needed respite on the pitch and on the scoreboard for an away team that had found an unlikely second wind.
Leinster never seemed like they would lose control of the game despite Munster doing their upmost to dictate the tempo of a contest that was a level above anything that had taken place throughout the course of the regular season.
Another penalty levelled the game but, the key moment came at the beginning of the second half. Devin Toner, making a record 262nd appearance for the province, won a line-out that eventually led to another set-piece; a scrum on the five-metre line for Leinster.
Rhys Ruddock and man of the match Jack Conan combined to get the all-important first and only try of the game as Conan touched down for the Blues. Byrne converted to make it a seven-point game, 13-6.
On the 67th minute Byrne, who came back on for his replacement Johnny Sexton, forced off with a HIA, put the final nail in Munster’s coffin as he slotted a third penalty to make it a two-score game. Whatever chance Johann van Graan’s side had of getting back into the game had almost entirely evaporated.