Munster made it 5 Pro14 wins from six following a hard fought 22-16 win over a resilient Ulster side at Thomond Park on Saturday evening.
John Cooney opened the scoring with a 4th minute penalty after James Cronin was penalised for hands in the ruck.
Munster then had a line out on the Ulster 22. A ball over the top found Rory Scannell. The centre took the ball well but a few phases later, Jack McGrath to force a knock on from Alby Mathewson.
The first genuine try scoring opportunity would fall they way of the home side after Conway blocked down a kick, then kicked ahead himself. Haley tackled the Ulster defender in goal to earn the five metre scrum.
The set piece was solid and after a couple of phases CJ Stander was on hand to drive over power over from close range. JJ added the extra to give Munster a 7-3 lead.
Cooney had the routine task of making it 7-6 on the 20th minute after Rory Scannell was caught offside.
Hanrahan cancelled out Cooney’s penalty with one of his own in the 25th minute after Ulster caught playing the ball on the ground. 10-6 and a competitive game of rugby brewing nicely.
It would be the Kerryman’s last scoring contribution of the night has he limed of injured on the half hour mark after a tackle from his opposite number Angus Curtis. Bleyendaal was straight into the action.
A scrum penalty gave Bleyendaal a chance to establish territory deep in Ulster territory. He did just that and with the line out secured Munster went in search of their second try of the night.
Excellent work from Bleyendaal as he delayed the pass to Chris Farrell who found Scannell in space to dot down for the second try of the night. The conversion hit the post but Munster enjoyed a deserved 15-6 lead.
Munster had a glorious chance to add a third try in the last minute of the half with an attacking 5 metre lineout but a poor over throw allowed the visitors to clear their lines and draw the half to a close.
The second half began with an Ulster penalty inside the opening two minutes which Cooney kicked to the corner. O’Mahony stole the throw jumping at two and Munster cleared.
Minutes later and O’Mahony repeated the dose as Ulster’s line out began to creak. 50 minutes gone and that creaking line out was back functioning once more.
Seven metres out from there Munster line and with the maul rolling nicely, Rob Herring broke off the for a routine finish. It was poor maul defence from Munster. Cooney added the extras to make it 15-13 and game most definitely on.
Ulster were by far the better team in the opening 17 minutes of the second half and their superiority was rewarded when Cooney slotted a long range penalty after CJ Stander was penalised for playing the ball on the ground. A deserved 16-15 lead for the visitors.
Munster had become scrappy and sloppy and when Mike Haley knocked on twice in as many, he compounded his errors by being pinged for holding on. Cooney went for posts but his effort was short and Munster cleared.
Munster were flat and had been since the break. Enter Andrew Conway Ito take a superb line off the side of the ruck. Bleyendaal’s pass was bang on and Conway made the rest look easy despite having a lot of work left to do.
Conversion added by Bleyendaal, a 22-16 lead and within one try of the bonus point with 14 minutes remaining. It was only a 6 point lead and Bleyendaal tried to extend it beyond a try in the 76th minute. His effort was short and wide right.
Munster endured one final scare as they chased the bonus point try when McCluskey intercepted but Rory Scannell tacked to stop the momentum. The final score 22-16, a scrappy win but a win none the less.