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Leavy leads the way as Leinster fire out warning

Munster 24 Leinster 34

By Cian Tracey

Big moments decide big games, and two from Leinster in a minute in the latter stages of an enthralling derby earned them the bragging rights.

This 10-point victory was another big statement from Leinster, who are in­creasingly looking like a team who will finish this season with a trophy, while for Munster, Johann van Graan was handed his first defeat.

Trailing 27-5 at half-time, Munster ultimately left themselves too much to do, but they did mount a stirring comeback that was halted by two match-winning interventions.

The hosts had clawed their way back into the contest (19-27) with tries from Ian Keatley and Andrew Conway after the restart, but when man of the match Dan Leavy forced a crucial turnover penalty under his own posts after 68 minutes, it brought an end to a barrage of Munster pressure.

That allowed Leinster to clear before Jordan Larmour took centre stage once again. After his sensational solo effort against Ulster last month, the 20-year-old scored yet another try of the sea­son contender from 60 metres to seal victory and extend Leinster's unbeaten run to five.

It was a moment of magic, and one that was fitting to win any game of this magnitude.

The tone was set inside the first minute when Leavy forced a turnover penalty after Alex Wootton had taken the ball into contact and found himself isolated.

Adam Byrne punished Munster's early indiscipline by kicking the opening three points, and eight minutes later the Leinster out-half turned creator for Leavy with an exquisite cross-field kick.

Larmour made the initial break and, after the ball bounced favourably off James Tracy, Barry Daly rescued the situation, which set the platform for Byrne to put the ball on a plate for Leavy.

Byrne added the extras before he fired over a 13th minute penalty to open up a 13-0 lead.

Munster made their first meaningful foray into the Leinster 22 count. Keatley's clever chip over the top created the opening and Conor Murray linked well with Wootton and, when he was stopped short, Leinster conceded the penalty.

Keatley put the ball in the corner and Murray sniped over from close range.

Leinster scored two more tries before the break.

After 21 minutes, Larmour again provided the spark. He kicked the ball through for James Lowe, but Conway slide tackled him from behind.

Ref Nigel Owens went to the TMO and it resulted in Conway spending 10 minutes in the sin bin and a sev­en-point penalty try.

Two minutes later, Robbie Henshaw went over and Byrne sealed a 27-5 lead.

Munster hit back six minutes after the restart when Keatley glided over. The out-half converted his own try and, three minutes later, Conway's brilliant diving finish gave Munster real hope. Keatley bisected the posts.

Leavy forced a turnover penalty which led to Larmour's moment of magic. Byrne's conversion took his tally to 12 points.

Munster did have the final say when Conway got over for his second try late on, as Van Graan's men salvaged a try-scoring bonus point.

Belfast Telegraph

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