Leinster bounced back from last week’s Champions Cup heartbreak to beat Munster 24-9, thus securing their place in the PRO14 final.
This victory sets up a final showdown with Glasgow Warriors at Celtic Park next Saturday in what promises to be an epic clash in Scotland.
Tries from Sean Cronin and James Lowe and the boot of Ross Byrne saw Leinster past their Irish rivals, whose points came via Joey Carbery.
Leinster held a slender 9-6 lead at the break after a low-scoring but entertaining half in Dublin, with the match very much in the balance.
Byrne, starting ahead of Ireland international fly-half Johnny Sexton for this crucial game, nudged Leinster in front on three minutes after the visitors were penalised for a high shot. But former Leinster back Carbery levelled shortly after, slotting from the tightest of angles.
Leinster were then hit by a setback on 25 minutes when wing Lowe was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on, with Carbery making it 6-3.
However, Byrne did even matters up nine minutes later before Lowe returned, but the sight of Devin Toner hobbling from the field offset Lowe’s return. That injury was cushioned somewhat by Byrne moving his side 9-6 in front on the stroke of half-time with a simple penalty.
FULL-TIME! SEE YOU IN GLASGOW! #LEIvMUN #JoinTheRoar pic.twitter.com/HXCdCcrn5F
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) May 18, 2019
Munster found themselves down to 14 men five minutes into the second period when hooker Niall Scannell was hit by Luke McGrath’s pass when backtracking to his defensive line. While it looked a harsh call, Leinster capitalised as Byrne sent over three points for 12-6.
Carbery did cancel that out on 50 minutes for 12-9 but four minutes later the game’s opening try arrived, as Cronin went over after good work from front-row colleagues Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong. With the conversion it was a 10-point cushion for Leinster at 19-9.
The icing on the cake would come for the hosts late on as Lowe made amends for his earlier card to go over as Leo Cullen’s men sealed their semi-final win in style, thus setting up a final with Glasgow next week.
For Leinster: Tries: Cronin, Lowe Con: Byrne Pens: Byrne 4 Yellow Card: Lowe
For Munster: Pens: Carbery 3 Yellow Card: N Scannell
Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock (c), 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Cian Healy Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Scott Fardy, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Rory O’Loughlin
Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Arno Botha, 7 CJ Stander, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 Liam O’Connor, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Dan Goggin
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland) Assistant referees: Lloyd Linton (Scotland), Keith Allen (Scotland) Television match official: Neil Paterson (Scotland)