Match Centre: Munster 20-17 Connacht

James Cronin (left) scored Munster's opening try
James Cronin (left) scored Munster's opening try

Munster 20-17 Connacht, Thomond Park

Munster have claimed a place in the Pro14 final as they edged out Connacht 20-17 in the latest round at Thomond Park on Friday.

They now have 12 wins from 14 games to seal the top place in Conference B taking their tally to 54 points - 12 more than second placed Connacht.

The visitors were off to a dream start when Jack Carty recycled the ball from a scrum to send Matt Healy over the line in the fifth minute. Carty then followed it with a conversion to take them to a seven point lead.

Munster's response came at the start of the second quarter when James Cronin dotted down after a series of good carries and a conversion from Ben Healy levelled the scores. Carty ensured Connacht finished the opening half with a slender three-point lead with his maiden penalty goal in the 27th minute.

Healy had a chance to level the scores before the break but missed a long-range penalty. However, he took his second opportunity in the 43rd minute making it 10-10 as Connacht lost Bundee Aki to sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on.

Even though, Munster did not make use of their numerical advantage, they scored when Aki returned from sin-bin with Mike Haley collecting a pass from John Porch and went past Dave Heffernan for their second try. Joey Carbery, who replaced Healy was straightaway in action as he kicked the conversion making it 17-10.

Connacht were given an opportunity when Chris Cloete was yellow-carded at the start of the final quarter and immediately Paul Boyle brushed away a tackle from Damian de Allende to score over with Carty's conversion taking the scores levelled 17-17.

With all the three results possible, Aki's infringement at the ruck allowed Munster to earn a penalty opportunity with Carbery slotting it perfectly to complete a thrilling three-point win.

Team line up:

Munster: M Haley; A Conway, C Farrell, R Scannell, S Daly; B Healy, C Casey; J Cronin, N Scannell, S Archer; F Wycherley, B Holland; J O'Donoghue, C Cloete, G Coombes.

Reserves: K O'Byrne, J Loughman, John Ryan, J Kleyn, J O'Sullivan, N McCarthy, J Carbery, D de Allende.

Connacht: T O'Halloran; J Porch, T Daly, B Aki, M Healy, J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, D Heffernan, F Bealham, U Dillane, G Thornbury, J Butler, C Oliver, P Boyle

Reserves: S Delahunt, M Burke, J Aungier, N Murray, E Masterson, K Marmion, S O'Brien, A Wootton