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Will O'Callaghan
Will O'Callaghan

21.43 5 Mar 2021


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Munster have qualified for this month's Guinness PRO14 final after grinding out a 20-17 win over Connacht. 

The victory has seen Johann van Graan's side seal top spot in Conference B with two games to spare and they can now look forward to a first decider since 2017.

A fifth minute Matt Healy from a clever Jack Carty pass allowed Connacht to take an early 7-0 lead at Thomond Park.

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Munster quickly drew level with James Cronin wriggling over the line after strong work off a home scrum with Ben Healy adding the conversion.

Jack Carty kicked over a penalty to add to his earlier conversion to give Connacht a well deserved 10-7 advantage at half-time.

Andy Friend's side had to deal with playing a man short for 10 minutes soon after the break after Ireland centre Bundee Aki received a yellow card soon after a Healy penalty had drawn Munster level.

The Westerners weathered the storm while a man short but soon after Aki's return, Munster full-back Mike Haley celebrated his recent contract extension by chasing down his own chip forward for an superb individual try.

Having come off the bench for the second game in-a-row, fit-again Joey Carbery added the conversion to put Munster 17-10 up.

Connacht were again level on the scoreboard with 15 minutes to play with flanker Paul Boyle evading a Damien de Allende tackle to go over the whitewash with Carty adding the extras.

With 10 minutes left on the clock Aki surrendered a penalty at a ruck and the returning Carbery kicked what proved to be a match-winning penalty for Munster.

The Reds will now have the chance to win their first trophy in ten seasons when they take on either Leinster or Ulster in the final at the end of the month. Defending champions Leinster will join their rivals in the decider if they can win at Ulster tomorrow night.

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