Munster 20 Connacht 18
As Joey Carbery lined up his conversion, the evidence against the try flashed up on the big screen.
Referee Chris Busby was unmoved, neither of his assistants thought it worthy of a mention and Television Match Official Brian MacNeice kept his counsel.
Earlier, they had deliberated at length before ruling out Mack Hansen’s effort for Connacht; watching repeated replays to ensure they reached the right decision on Tiernan O’Halloran’s marginally forward final pass.
Yet here was a try for the home side that was waved through with little fuss. Andy Friend tried to keep a lid on things for fear of sanction, but the Australian said just enough to suggest at the rage within.
His side were already down to 14 men because of a tough yellow card to Sammy Arnold when Andrew Conway slid in and won the ball on the deck for Munster.
Carbery moved the ball to Rory Scannell who had a huge overlap outside him and decided the best way to exploit it was to dink a left-footed chip in behind the Connacht line. Tadhg Beirne raced on to it and controlled the ball brilliantly with his foot for Chris Cloete to score.
Even in real-time, Beirne’s position looked suspicious. Replays showed he was clearly in front of Scannell when he kicked the ball. The try should not have stood.
Friend couldn’t help but express his frustration, raising the idea that his side do not get close calls from referees.
“I’ve got to be careful, I’ve been here three and a bit years, mate, if it’s a 50-50 I rarely see it going our way,” he said after the 20-18 defeat.
“I know that, but listen we’ve got to keep pushing our limits and making sure that we’re trying to be as squeaky clean as we can with things. I’m just . . . to me, that try and the missed offside there – that’s inexcusable.
“Whether it’s Connacht or somebody else, I don’t know, it’s just inexcusable.
“We don’t have a referees’ manager, so I’m assuming that URC will be looking at that and hopefully something happens to the TMO that missed it. But it doesn’t help us, mate.”
For Carbery, there was a sense of redemption at the death.
Behind a pack that was barely break¬ing even, the Ireland out-half gave a middling performance and that lax moment in his own ‘22 could have cost his side dear.
Instead, he can reflect on a positive finish in which he held his nerve to kick the winning conversion after Munster’s impressive replacement hooker Diarmuid Barron had powered over from close range. His perfor¬mance summed up the home side’s night.
“Joey is a world-class player,” Van